In a move to ameliorate injuries suffered by litigants during the last judiciary workers’ strike, the Supreme Court has waived default fees, computation of time, among others in respect of cases affected by the strike.
JUSUN strike action held between April 6 and June 14 during which all court activities nationwide were grounded.
The decision was contained in a set of fresh practice directions issued by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
The practice directions, to be cited as: “the Supreme Court of Nigeria computation of time and payment of default fees (JUSUN strike period exemption) practice directions, 2021,” is to be effective from June 15 this year.
The CJN said the intention is to alleviate the effect of the strike on litigants and their lawyers.
Part of it reads: “Whereas the period of JUSUN strike will have negative effect on the. computation of time and payment of default fees by litigants and their counsel, who file processes in the Supreme Court.
“Whereas it is imperative to have practice directions to alleviate the financial burden of litigants and their counsel when filing processes affected by the period of the JUSUN strike,
“In the exercise of the powers conferred on me by Section 236 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Order 10 Rule 2 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1985 (as amended) and by virtue of all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Honourable Dr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, hereby issue the following Practice Directions.
Commencement: These practice directions shall commence and come into effect on the 15th day of June, 2021.
Objective and guiding principle: The purpose of these practice directions is to alleviate the financial burden of litigants and their counsel when filing processes affected by the period of the JUSUN strike.
Applicability: These practice directions shall, save to the extent and as may otherwise be ordered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, apply to computation of time for th purposes of filing of processes and payment of default fees or doing any act or taking any step that is time-bound in respect of any case before th Supreme Court in both civil and criminal matters affected by the JUSUN strike.
Computation of time and payment of default fees: Notwithstanding any provision in the Supreme Court Rules, 1985, or any previous practice directions or instrument on computation of time for filling of. court processes or doing any act or taking any step as provided by the Rules or the Practice Directions or the Instrument and payment of default fees for extension of time thereof, the period of the JUSUN stnke, starting from the 6th April, 2021 to the 14th June, 2021 shall be exempted.
Citation: These practice directions shall be cited as the Supreme Court of Nigeria Computation of Time and Payment of Default Fees (JUSUN) strike period exemption) Practice Directions, 2021, made at Abuja this 15th day of June, 2021.”