Offering court bailiffs money is bribe, judge tells lawyer
A Judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Mojisola Olatoregun has said giving money to court bailiffs to serve court processes on parties to a suit amounted to bribery.
She therefore, cautioned lawyers and litigants against paying bailiffs in such circumstances because they were paid their salaries and allowances to do the job. The judge said the bailiffs were not supposed to charge extra fees from litigants to serve court processes.
It is taken as a norm that bailiffs have to be tipped or mobilised if they were to deliver lawsuits to the defendants. Lawyers who refuse to ‘settle’ them may have their files abandoned or not treated.
A lawyer who appeared before the judge yesterday in a case complained that the defendants were yet to be served even though he mobilised the bailiffs.
Justice Olatoregun asked the lawyer: “Did you say you mobilised them? How much did you give them let me know if it was enough?” to which the lawyer said he gave the bailiffs N8, 000.
The judge then threatened to order the lawyer’s arrest for offering a bribe. She also sent for the court’s registrar and bailiff. “When you give a bribe, both of you are liable. We’ll get the Chief Registrar. You will be handed over to the police for bribing a bailiff. You will explain how you have been bribing bailiffs.
“That is how you will be collecting money from Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) when you become a judge,” she said.