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ECOWAS court holds retreat to improve case management system



ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, has begun a 5-Day Judicial retreat to improve case management system and efficiency in the administration of justice in the region.

The president of the court, Justice Edward Asante, disclosed this on Wednesday at the opening of the 11th Judicial Retreat held at Goshen City in Nassarawa.

He said that the judicial retreat was organised to discuss critical issues relevant for efficiency of the court.

Asante reiterated that the management would take measures to implement the outcome of the retreat in order to strengthen the court’s effectiveness.

“This 11th judicial retreat will focus on improving the court’s case management system. The case management system of any court has a direct correlation with the speed with which cases are processed and managed.

“An efficient system focuses on the speedy administration of justice with measures for minimising delays.

“The comprehensive objective is to improve on the case management system and adopt clear guidelines that will assist the office of the judge rapporteur as well as the registry, the research division and the language services division in their various functions. “

He said that the judicial retreat would enable them discuss four critical issues germane to the effective functioning of the court.

According to him, this includes the legal aid scheme, the establishment of an appellate chamber for the court, the harmonisation of perspectives on the contentious issue of amicus curiae and  the uncertainties surrounding the award of the reparations.

Asante, however, urged participants, particularly the discussants to address and proffer solutions to questions that have been posed under the various sub-themes to enable them adopt clear guidelines for efficient case management.

Also speaking, Mr Tony Anene-Maidoh, Chief Registrar of ECOWAS Court said that this year’s Judiciary retreat was unique because the management of the court approved the long awaited case management workshop.

He said that the registry department takes a lot of pride in the annual hosting of the retreat which has become a key activity in the work programme of the court.

According to him, the importance of a case management system cannot be over-emphasised.

“In any court system, speedy administration of justice is a cardinal importance because justice delayed is justice denied.

“A court cannot achieve its goal of speedy administration of justice without an efficient case management system.

“An efficient system pays attention to efficient processing of applications, compliance with legal framework, transmission and notification of processes, scheduling certainty of hearing dates, speedy trial and delayed reduction measures.“

The Chief Registrar said that the court was set up in 2001 with no defined clear terms on case management system.

He said that the personnel that are involved in case management, particularly in the registry, needed clear guidelines that do not leave room for ambiguities.

“In one word, we are asking for clarity. It is against this background that this case management workshop is situated.

“ It therefore offers us an excellent opportunity to articulate a case management system for ECOWAS court of justice.

“ We should cease the opportunity to address the concerns identified in the programme and give directives to the registry on the case management.

“ Ultimately, the adoption of a practice direction and instructions to the chief registrar on case management is our goal,’’ he said.

Anene-Maidoh, said that since the court was set up in 2001 and the adoption of the rules of procedures in 2002, no effort has been made to define in very clear terms, case management.

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