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Litigants deplore non-release of judgment copies by Calabar Appeal Court

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Litigants have deplored the non-availability of the certified true copies (CTCs) in the 16 complaints heard by the Court of Appeal Calabar Division since November 2,2019.The appeals revolve around the governorship, state and federal legislative elections held in Cross River State this year.

Lawyers and parties in the cases are disturbed that more than two weeks after the rulings and despite the assurances of Justice Tijjani Abubakar, copies of the judgment were being delayed resulting in their inability to properly study the verdicts and advise their clients accordingly.

They raise the fears that the absence of the copies was posing a major threat to appeals in the apex court if need be as the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives a time frame for such exercise.A litigant, who craved anonymity, stated: “Parties and counsel are denied the reasons for the judgments, and as such, are unable to appropriately brief their clients about the underlying considerations that led to the court in arriving at the rulings whether favourable or not.

“Furthermore, counsel who need copies of the judgments for records and submission to their clients or relevant institutions or even for applications requiring evidence of matters are also left in limbo on the exercise that was concluded over two weeks ago.”

The attorney claimed that he applied for the CTCs of rulings on November 5 after proceedings had been completed on November 2 and 5, stating that his application was acknowledged same day, but nothing had happened ever since.

Another lawyer, who simply gave his name as Ubi, said: “Much more worrisome is the fact that the situation has left room for speculations. To some, it does appear that the judgments delivered were only oral, as against the statement by Justice Abubakar that the full judgments were ready and available for parties to obtain.

“To others, the observed inconsistencies in the decisions delivered even on same subject matters could be the reason for failure to issue judgment orders upon application.”He added: “Obviously, the non-availability of the copies of these judgments almost three weeks after is not good for the image of the judiciary.”

Reacting, the court’s Deputy Registrar, Michael Nwangbengbe, stated that the delay was due to workload and the fact that the judges were not based in Calabar.He, however, promised that the copies of the judgments would soon be ready for litigants to pick them up, pointing out that some were available last week.

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