FCT Chief Judge Signs FCT District Courts Civil Procedure Rules 2021
The Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf on Friday, signed the FCT District Courts Civil Procedure Rules 2021.
The event which took place at the High Court of the FCT was attended by the Minister of the FCT who was represented by the Solicitor General of the FCT, Yusuf Wodi.
Also in attendance were members of the Bench including Honorable Justice Anenih, Honorable Justice Agbara, Honorable Justice Kekekmeke and magistrates of the FCT. Acting Chairperson and Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja and Bwari branches respectively, Chioma Onyenucheya-Uko, and Monday Adjeh, along with their members, were at the event.
In his speech, Justice Yusuf described the event as significant because the District Court Act Cap. 495 LFN, (Abuja) 1990 and the Rules made before now which were applicable in the FCT, were enacted by the legislature of the then Northern Region of Nigeria and were therefore stagnant and obsolete.
He recognised the foresight of the immediate past Chief Judge, Honorable Justice Saliu Garba, in setting up the committee which reviewed and updated the relevant laws establishing the District Courts in the FCT, the civil procedure rules applicable in the courts, proposed monetary jurisdiction for the courts amongst other terms of reference.
Justice Yusuf went on to mention notable provisions in the new rules as follows:
1. Reviewed and simplified the court forms;
2. Provided for praecipe of evidence for frontloading with exceptions for waiver for illiterate self represented litigants;
3. Provided for new mode for commencing action by ‘originating application’;
4. Made provisions for claims in a foreign currency;
5. Made provisions for counterclaim and set off;
6.Made provisions for service of processes by electronic means;
6. Identification and designation of Districts;
7. Mode of Third-party proceedings;
8. Timelines for hearing cases and limits on number of adjournments permissible per party;
9. Timeline for judgments and rulings;
10. Nonsuiting and procedure thereof;
11. Review of fees;
12. Procedure for discontinuance;
13. Provision for award of interest;
14. Effect of noncompliance with the rules;
15. Specific duty on Chief Registrar to open interest yielding accounts for interim or interlocutory orders upon stay of execution etc.
He urged all stakeholders especially the Nigerian Bar Association to continue partnering with the Judiciary, to implement the innovations made in the new Rules as accordig to him, “it offers an opportunity to improve our systems and enhance speedy dispensation of justice. Thus, our Courts stand to resolve disputes more quickly and less expensively.”