Chief Justice David Maraga, is leaving the Judiciary in style, bringing in new rules that will lock down presidential election petitioners to a maximum of 30 pages argument documents.
Lawyers were given verbose and long speeches the Supreme Court Rules (LN No6, 2020) will reduce them to size in 2022
In the rules tightening the functions of the country’s highest court, the Chief Justice betrays the situation of a heavily burdened court, burdened with huge documents and voluble submissions, but he is now keen to tame the situation.
The new rules will introduce the use of coded colors in the filing of documents for ease of navigation to put in check the number of pages for application as well as cap applications for appellate matters at just 15 pages.
They block “interested parties” from taking part in advisory opinion proceedings of the court.
“A volume of any document shall be bound in book form, printed on one side of the paper, and shall not exceed one hundred and fifty pages in length,” the rules say of annexes to applications.
Each page of the documents must be consecutively numbered on the top-hand corner and each tenth line of each document must be numbered in sequence, on the right-hand margin.
The document must be double-spaced, Times New Roman,front-size, with margins of less than 3.0 cm on the left, 2.0 cm on top and bottom, and 1.5 cm on the right.
A complete record of appeal must be filed in both electronic form and hard copy.
“The default display view of all documents filed electronically shall be 100 percent,” the rules sign by Maraga said.
Lawyers will not be allowed to make extensive quotations from the documents or authorities. It is authentic that the application must set out in numbered paragraphs, and into sub-headings where specific issues are placed.
Lawyers will need to make urgent applications “not later than noon on a Court working day”. This implies that no matter can be urgent in an afternoon according to the new rules.
Where authorities lawyer citing to help their case Supreme Court’s decision, lawyers are not allowed to avail the hard copy of the judgment. They are only allowed to give the full citation and make reference to the relevant paragraphs.
“Where the authorities are other decisions, the parties shall give the full citation, attach the hard-copy case law and highlight the relevant portion being relied on,” the rules say.
Where they depend on Constitution, statutes or other legal materials such protocols, treaties, and convention, the will only give a full citation and an excerpt of the relevant provision and nothing else
Failure to comply with the court directions will result in penalties such as the dismissal of the matter, payment of costs and adjournment fees, and any other sanction that the court may request.
For one to be allowed to take part in the proceedings, the issue shall be determined at the pre-trial conference immediately after the registrar of the court certifies that the application is urgent.
It is also at the pre-trial conference the issue of whether to allow an amicus curie to participate in the proceeding shall determine, as reported by The Standard.
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The Supreme Court shall determine the number of parties to participate in such a reference.
Proceeding adjournments shall not be allowed by the court except in exceptional circumstances and where a matter is derived from the cause list at the instance of the court, new data shall be given a priority and all parties shall be notified.