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Lagos State Judiciary introduces N30k fee for virtual court proceedings

In a significant move, the Lagos State Judiciary has announced that effective from April 1, 2024, all remote court or virtual proceedings will now attract a fee of N30,000 per session. This directive was issued by the Honorable Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Olanrewaju Alogba, and communicated through a circular from the Office of the Chief Registrar, High Court of Lagos State.

According to the circular, applications for virtual hearings must be submitted to the court handling the specific matter. Upon approval, payment shall be made directly to the court. The Assistant Chief Registrar (ACR) Litigation in either Ikeja or Lagos will then schedule the case for a hearing.

Importantly, no other office or officer is authorised to conduct or schedule cases for virtual proceedings in the High and Magistrate Courts of Lagos State. Additionally, First Hightower Infotech Ltd. (FHTI) will continue to provide internet access and service for the courts where they currently offer such services. Court registrars have been directed to strictly comply with the circular and ensure its widest publicity.

The introduction of this fee comes as virtual court proceedings have become increasingly common in Nigeria, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It serves as a means to ensure the continuity of court operations while adhering to social distancing guidelines. However, discussions have arisen among legal practitioners and the public regarding the affordability and accessibility of virtual hearings for all parties involved. Some argue that the fee is reasonable, considering the convenience and efficiency offered by remote proceedings. As this directive takes effect, it remains to be seen how it will impact the administration of justice in Lagos State and whether other states will follow suit by introducing similar fees for virtual court sittings.


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