Justice Edward Amoako Asante, President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice has pledged to implement the outcome of the three-day Judicial Retreat of the ECOWAS Court of Justice that ended on the 15th of November, 2023 in Nasarawa State, Nigeria.

The President made the assertion in his remarks during the closing ceremony of the Judicial Retreat that contrived a roadmap to reposition the Court for efficiency and effectiveness. 

“This judicial retreat is remarkable, considering the immense contributions of judges and staff towards improving the judicial processes and procedures of the Court. Measures for the implementation of the outcomes will be put in place in line with the guidelines and timelines,” he said. 

During the retreat, the Court decided that departments should develop a rapid response mechanism for cases requiring expedited procedure and/or interim measures, including prioritised translation of the documents into the working languages (English, French and Portuguese) of the Court. 

In addition, the Court is to set up training programmes for lawyers on the format for case filing, and practice and procedure before the Court. Participants also agreed to expeditious transmission of documents, and the development of a communication strategy for legal matters of the Court, among others.

Earlier, Hon Justice Gbéri-Bè Ouattara, Vice President of the Court, delivered a vote of thanks during which he highlighted the importance and impact of the retreat to an improved performance of the Court. He thanked the college of judges and staff for the convivial atmosphere that allowed for productive discussions and recommendations for the overall repositioning of the Court for effectiveness. 

Other honourable judges that attended the retreat include Justices Dupe Atoki, Sengu M. Koroma and Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro Gonçlaves. 

Also present were the chief registrar, directors, heads of units and divisions, legal officers and some key support staff of the Court. 

The judicial retreat which held from November 12 – 15, 2023, on the theme Case Management before ECOWAS Court of Justice: Relationship between the Registry Department, the Chambers of the Honourable Judges and the Legal Research Departments, focused on four issues specific to the Court namely: (i) special forms of proceedings, judgments of the Court and its execution; (ii) service of legal documents on the parties and their dispatch to the honourable judges; (iii) the role of the chief registrar, deputy registrar and other registrars in the case management process; and (iv) the role of the registry and legal research department in support of the judge rapporteur. 

The judicial retreat is an important annual activity of the Court that affords the judges and legal staff of the Court the opportunity to reflect, review and where necessary develop an implementable action plan for the enhancement of the operations of the Court.