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‘Facilitate online filing processes’ – Falana tells ECOWAS court

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has urged the ECOWAS Court of Justice to move its filing processes online amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Falana said this will help the court to fast track access to justice with the use of Skype or Zoom.

This was contained in a letter sent to the President of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante and titled: ‘Request to promote and facilitate online filing processes for the Community Court of Justice’.

He said: “This is also entirely consistent with the practices of other regional human rights’ bodies, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“Similarly, the United Nations special mechanisms are allowing victims and their representatives to file communications online.

“The filing of processes should be done electronically and sensitive information such as financial information can be removed to address any privacy or security concerns that may arise.

“However, it should be noted that court processes and documents are already public records available in hard copy to anybody who appears as a clerk of court’s office.

“Public electronic access to court files should be permitted to the same extent that they are available at the court registry.

“Having both remote electronic access and court registry access to the same information will also utilise more fully the technology available to the Community Court and will allow court officials to better and more easily serve the needs of the bar and the public.

“Furthermore, the public interest in obtaining information on litigation and the operation of the Community Court favour electronic disclosure.”

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