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“LIVE BROADCAST OF COURT PROCEEDINGS IS THE HEART OF OPEN JUSTICE” PRESIDENT AIGBOKHAN, FOI COUNSEL BOSS

Information is a key mechanism for innovating the law. Open legal data/ information is the foundation to a dynamic legal system. Citizens can review available information to evaluate criminal justice outcomes so as to provide valuable insights for policy making. Despite ongoing development in open government initiatives and constitutional provision on open justice, the interface between ICT and justice sector is at its lowest ebb.

The notion of openness in the judiciary is still opaque and unexplored in terms of emolument, judges’ selection criteria, judgment per judge annually and publication of lower court’s judgments among others. There is dearth of law and justice datasets at the national and sub national. We do not know the specific amount budgeted for judiciary.

There is a cost of open justice and the judiciary is willing to bear it if allowed to be independent financially. Open justice is the state of judicial openness in terms of access to court, records and disciplinary proceedings against judicial officers. There is need for the review of the secrecy of complaint against judicial officers

Today, we analyze precedent to identify patterns of common winning in courts with the potential to identify best practices. Huge array of datasets and statistical complications on arrest, demographic of crime, criminal offenders, sentencing, drug related offences, substance use of juvenile, datasets on violence against women and divorce listing across gender divide

Proactive Disclosure by default for Justice Sector in Nigeria as a forward thinking legal effort. Proactive disclosure initiative has become a defining goal for public administrators around the world. However, progress is still necessary outside of the executive and legislative sectors. There is a need to know what justice in terms of access, exploration and feedback. Till date, most of the rules of court are offline. Cause lists are manually prepared the day of the case.

Media coverage of judicial proceedings need to be updated in line with the reality of new media. We are in an era where court proceedings can be broadcasted live as a new approach to access to court. There is also the need for the court to create Access to Information Policy as this is a requirement of Freedom of Information Act 2011 which mandate all MDAs in federal and state to embrace proactive disclosure. The information to be proactively disclosed include but not limited to duties of departments, officers, decision making procedure, manuals governing the departments, budget and subsidiary programmes. This will be effective where access to information appear in job description of court officers

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