The Nigerian Bar Association has risen from its 59th Annual General Conference with a call on the Supreme Court to clarify whether the Code of Conduct Tribunal is an organ of the executive arm or a quasi-judical tribunal capable of being vested with criminal jurisdiction.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the weeklong conference held at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos State with the theme: ” Facing the Future”.
In the communique signed on Friday by its President, Mr Paul Usoro, the NBA said it was necessary to determine the status of the tribunal in the interest of justice.
The NBA encouraged judicial officers to be independent, courageous and unbiased in the execution of their functions without regard to the appointing authority in order to bolster and retain investor confidence.
It acknowledged the roles of the different stakehholders in the improvement of the legal profession, the Nigerian economy and the entire society.
“Government should increase confidence in the domestic business environment by protecting the sanctity of contracts, streamlining the regulatory environment and effecting fraud deterrents.
“Government is encouraged to imbue the principles of transparency and accountability to the citizens and establish processes to show that funds are applied judiciously.
“Laws with severe punitive measures for sex offenders should be enacted, sensisitisation programmes and community dialogues should be promoted to remove the stigma around gennder-based violence.
“Government is encouraged to adopt the voluntary principles on security and human rights, and develop a legal framework for effective enforcement of the principles in the extractive industry,” it said.
On legal practice, it recommended review of the Rules of Professional Conduct for an improved and efficient disciplinary process.
“The patriarchal language of the bar should evolve to recognise and embrace gender diversity in the bar and bench and, beyond the creation of NBA Women Forum, entrench gender equality in its constitution.
“The prevalence of bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession should be addressed in the Rules of Professional Conduct,” the association added.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the association also said it should set up a monitoring and review process to track implementation of all recommendations aimed at the development of Nigeria’s legal practice.
reports that the conference had a total of 12,000 registered delegates, 41 technical sessions and 206 guest speakers on various issues.