2023: FHC Approves Only Two Adjournments In Pre-election Suits

2023: FHC Approves Only Two Adjournments In Pre-election Suits

The Federal High Court in Nigeria has approved a new practice direction to guide the hearing and determination of pre-election suits.

The direction, which was handed out in preparation for the 2023 forthcoming general elections, comes on the heels of the broad policy on the handling of election-related matters issued by the National Judicial Council, NJC in May, allowing two adjustments in pre-election suits.

The NJC’s new policy is focused on preventing conflicting decisions from courts and contained rules on how heads of courts and judges must handle such suits already ruled upon by a court of coordinate jurisdiction.

This was issued in a circular dated July 7, signed by Assistant Director of Information, Catherine Christopher, Justice John Tsoho.

Justice John was quoted to have exercised his powers as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and the Electoral Act 2022.

He said, “The purpose of the new practice direction is to provide for a fair, impartial and expeditious determination of pre-election cases”, among others.

The practice direction further explained that the new rules would minimise undue adjournments and delays in the conduct of matters.

Also, it said the Chief Judge may direct that matters be transferred to the appropriate division or any other division of the court considering the given circumstances.

The order is also to tame the endemic problem of conflicting court orders due to a multiplicity of cases on similar issues, absence of a party in a suit will no longer be tolerated to prevent unnecessary delays as not more than two adjournments shall be granted to any party in a suit.

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