From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, has charged legal and research assistants to discharge their duties effectively with all sense of professionalism and transparency devoid of corrupt practices.
While harping on the need to cultivate a cordial relationship between them and judicial officers, the CJN warned that any act that will dent the image of the judiciary would be visited with the necessary punitive measures.
He spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at a virtual national workshop for legal and research assistants, held at the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
The CJN noted that one of the responsibilities of a judicial officer is to sustain public confidence reposed in the judiciary by dispensing justice according to the provisions of law and without fear and favour.
‘As legal assistants, who assist judicial officers in carrying out their research work, you must have a proper grasp of the law and adopt global best practices to improve the quality of your work.
‘In addition, I must emphasize here that your work involves a mix of legal research and writing that may include gathering materials on the admissibility of evidence, drafting legal documents and examining legal history and precedents to aid you in your research work.
‘Therefore, for you to discharge your duties effectively, you must possess qualities such as diligence, perseverance, transparency, confidentiality, professionalism and punctuality to work.
‘Let me also state that the relationship between legal and research assistants and judicial officers who you work for must be cordial and professional. You must display rock-solid integrity and be committed to work while avoiding corruption.’
Justice Mohammad thereafter commended the Administrator of the Institute, Justice Salisu Garba for organising the workshop.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice Garba explained that the workshop with the theme “Research as a tool for effective justice dispensation”, will invariably provide the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas that will help improve research methodologies and its outcomes.
The administrator who expressed the need for a judicial officer to be armed with the most current cases or principles of law throws up challenges that require skills.
‘To this end, this workshop will help in no small measure to deepen your experience and improve your skills.
‘Indeed, the judiciary is seen as a bastion of hope and freedom for the common man and an uncompromisingly fair umpire in the eyes of litigants and the general public. Therefore, as legal assistants, you must be dedicated to your duties, in order to ensure that there is continuous improvement in the quality of judgments delivered by courts.’