As a way of improving the existing relationships and cooperation between the Court and Bar, the Hon. President of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, PhD led other judges of the Court to a historic interaction with the members of the legal profession on Friday at the Industrial Court Headquarters, Abuja to interface on the adjudication of labour laws in the country.
At the forum, which was part of the activities to commemorate the 2022/2023 legal year of the Court, the President of the Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip responded to questions bordering on the recently issued practice directions of the court on the filing of Applications/Motions in Trade Union Matters and Marking of Exhibits amongst others.
Justice Kanyip stated that the reason behind the innovation is to cut trial time which is often wasted in marking documents in court; and to take care of the rule that states that courts are adjudicators, not investigators that it's not for the court to search through documents to ascertain what is relevant to a litigant’s case.
According to the NICN President, the error of the registry cannot bind the court, adding however that, the court is studying the implementation of the practice directions and will review it in the future.
Justice Kanyip added that the forum would put to rest some misgivings and misunderstandings about what the Industrial Court stands for in the area of jurisprudence.
Answers were equally given in areas such as sexual harassment in the workplace, unfair labour practice, and whether or not an employer under investigation for gross misconduct can resign from his employment to mention but a few.
In her speech, the President of the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs. Deborah Thomas-Felix, said it has become necessary for the court to engage the Bar and other judicial stakeholders in order to be at par with current trends.
She further advised that a forum where the Bar, trade unions, and court spend time analyzing and not criticizing issues on labour law to make things better should be encouraged.
In the same vein, the Chairman, NBA-SBL, Dr. Adeoye Adefulu, who joined the forum virtually, on his part applauded the Court for the brilliant initiatives and said the association would continue to leverage on the relationship so as to educate legal practitioners on how the Industrial Court works and reasons behind some of its decisions.
The Chairman of the SBL-EIRC, Mr. Ose Okpeku, reiterated that it was worrisome as some human resource personnel and legal practitioners were still stuck in applying common law in labour, and saluted the court for justifying the wisdom in creating the court as a specialized court.
The session which provided an opportunity for judges of the court to interact directly with the Bar was well attended by the Senior Advocates, judicial staff, members of the general public, and hundreds of participants joining virtually.
In her closing remark, the Administrative of Lagos Judicial division, Justice Maureen Esowe while saluting the effort of the Hon. President and her sister judges maintained that the engagement has no doubt cleared some grey areas of the labour laws to enable both the Bar and the Court to achieve sound and speedy justice delivery which is the target of the court.