Officials says lawyers have vital role to play towards effective functioning of regional court

The Legal Assistant  to the Chief Registrar of the ECOWAS Court of Justice  has challenged lawyers in the region to live up to their responsibility to contribute to the efficient functioning and sustenance of a virile community court by familiarizing themselves with the relevant texts and modalities for the functioning of the Court.

Delivering a paper on Wednesday, 6th October 2021 at the conference of the African Bar Association in Niamey, Niger, Mr Nwoko Uche Daniel urged the lawyers to be acquainted with the texts of the Court that guide its practice and procedure to be able to effectively represent the interests of their clients before the Court. He stated that the Court, through its jurisprudence, has become an important tool for promoting accountability and respect for the rule of law.

Mr Nwoko, whose presentation was on the procedures for filing cases before the court, told the participants at the conference that proceedings before the court are in two parts; oral and written procedure. He stated that for an initiating application to be successfully lodged before the Court, it must comply with the provisions of Article 33 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court, Articles 11 of the 1991 protocol on the Court and Article 3 Section 2 of the 2012 Practice Directions and Instructions to the Chief Registrar.

The presenter, further explained the procedures for lodging defence, reply, rejoinder and lodging an application for expedited hearing. He further spoke on lawyers eligible to appear before the Court as well as the Privileges and Immunities available to the said lawyers in respect of words spoken or written with respect to their cases.

He also highlighted the significance of notice of registration and spoke on the languages applied by the Court in cases before it. Specifically, the three official languages of the Community and how the language is selected by the Court in accordance with Article 25 of the 1991 Protocol on the Court.

 Mr. Nwoko, was a member of the court’s five member delegation to the conference which was led by its Vice President Hon. Justice Gberi- be Ouattara, who made presentations on various aspects of the court at the conference.

Also, on the delegation were the Chief Registrar Mr. Tony Anene  Maidoh, Mr.Nketiah Apraku and Mr. Fernand Kouassi Executive Assistants to the President of the Court and the Vice President, respectively.