Appeal Court cancels judges’ yearly vacation
President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, has canceled the yearly vacation of judges. She said the decision followed the consideration of the enormous petitions the court faces.
In a statement yesterday, the court stated that with 2019 being an election year, it became obvious that “we have to forfeit our annual vacation to enable us to entertain and determine all appeals arising from the various election petitions tribunals.”
In a two-page circular signed and transmitted to all judges on July 2, 2019, Justice Bulkachuwa noted that since these appeals were time-bound and would arise within the period of the court’s July to October vacation period, there was a need for the cases to be heard and determined within the period.
To enable the court meet these targets, Bulkachuwa gave a clear directive to the presiding justices of the various divisions to draw up rosters in consultation with the PCA to allow those with medical appointments or other pressing family issues travel for not more than 15 days within the period.
The PCA added that the schedules should be arranged in a manner that at any given time, there should be a three-member panel on the ground in every division to hear and determine appeals. In divisions with three judges, only one could travel at a time and the office of the PCA must be immediately notified to form a panel in that justice’s absence.
According to her, appeals arising from the national and state assemblies would be heard by a local panel of three members except where it is controversial. Consequently, the president would constitute and send another panel to hear it. On the governorship appeals, the PCA disclosed that they would be heard by a five-member panel.
Justice Bulkachuwa, therefore, instructed the presiding justices to notify the office of the PCA as soon as appeals from governorship elections were filed to ensure their speedy determination. Meanwhile, a total of 1,769 appeals were determined and 3,517 motions disposed of by the court between January and April this year.
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