LEGAL/JUDICIAL SECTOR REFORM

HURILAWS has done extensive work in Legal and Judicial sector reforms. Access to justice and civil justice reform are core activities of HURILAWS. In 1997, we began a project tagged the Nigerian Court Procedures Project (NCPP), which was an initiative to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian judiciary to protect human rights. The project was done in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) of the University of Lagos, and supported by The British Council, Lagos, and the Australian Embassy, Lagos (1997-1999). The project objective was to significantly reduce or eliminate delays in trials, including especially human rights cases, by reforming the civil procedures system in Nigerian superior courts. This project produced a Model Civil Procedure Rules for the High Courts and Courts of Appeal in Nigeria, and was adopted by the Lagos State government. HURILAWS also organized four roundtables for stakeholders in the Justice sector on behalf of a multi-donor group (World Bank, USAID, DfID, Government of Japan, European Union) in 2000. HURILAWS led an initiative with the Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] and the Multi-Sector Law Group (MSLG) to produce a National Action Plan for Justice Sector Reform in Nigeria. HURILAWS also produced a Model Electoral Law for enactment in the National Assembly.


HURILAWS has published a lot of books, among which is the Model Civil Procedure Rules of High Courts and Appeal Courts, which deals with issues in Legal and Justice Sector Reform to help reform the Justice system in Nigeria. HURILAWS worked with the British Council, Lagos and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies [NIALS] Lagos, since 1997 on court procedures, tagged the Nigerian Court Procedures Project [NCPP], to unearth the problems of slow court processes. The slow pace of judicial processes, alongside undue delays and incessant adjournments that have become endemic in the Nigerian Judicial System, has ensured that many suspects remained in prison for unusually long and often indeterminate periods of time before their cases are ultimately disposed of. The project discovered that slow court processes caused by a myriad of problems is a big contributory factor to prison congestion and so a set of rules were drafted and printed by HURILAWS on reforming court procedures in Nigeria which will positively impact on the criminal justice system. The ripple effect on prison decongestion is all too obvious. The rules were incorporated into the Lagos State revised Civil Procedure Rules in 2002. In addition to reforming penal policies of Nigeria, HURILAWS has used some dockets in the Strategic Impact Litigation (SIL) Project to challenge some of the practices of the Judicial and Criminal Justice sectors that fuel prison congestion. Some of the projects are the HOLDING CHARGE PROJECT and the DEATH PENALTY PROJECT.

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