On Monday, Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, noted that advances in technology have created both new difficulties and new possibilities for the country’s judicial system.
While addressing the topic of “The adjudication path in the digital era” at the 2023 National Workshop for Judges on Legal Issues in Telecommunications, the CJN made this statement.
As he put it, “while technological advancement offers numerous benefits, it also introduces new legal challenges, and digital interaction necessitates a comprehensive framework that balances individual rights, societal responsibilities, and of course corporate liabilities.”
He went on to say that judges must continuously adapt and improve the legal framework because of the ever-changing nature of technology.
Justice Ariwoola argues that judges must keep up with technological developments because “technology has fundamentally transformed how we communicate, access information, and conduct legal proceedings.”
We have a responsibility to welcome this change while maintaining a focus on fairness.
The use of the internet is becoming a prominent feature of this era, with innovative and interactive influences on the public, and “as judicial officers, we cannot deny the fact that information technology and telecommunication services have surpassed the conventional method of court services delivery,” he continued.
The CJN remarked that technological developments in the field of communications have become increasingly important in the day-to-day operations of modern courts.
In his speech, he emphasized the importance of looking at how data privacy and information security regulations are merging. Concerns about privacy, security, and individual rights are paramount as digital data continues to grow at an exponential rate.
“As judicial officers, it is your duty to weigh the pros and cons of encouraging innovation while protecting individuals’ privacy when considering the legal implications of data collection, storage, and use. Your Lordships will strengthen individual rights while also fostering confidence in the digital environment.
The Administration of Justice has both new opportunities and new obstacles brought on by the development of virtual reality technology. This groundbreaking technology has the potential to completely alter how evidence is presented in court and how justice is administered.
To keep the public’s trust and confidence in the judicial system intact, however, “your responsibilities as judicial officers is to remain vigilant in addressing ethical and legal dimensions associated with these technologies,” the report states.
The CJN highlighted the importance of finding a middle ground between fostering technological innovation and preventing unnecessary health risks.
Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, said in a statement that the NCC is working with the National Judicial Institute, NJI, to provide judges with the knowledge they need to effectively handle cases involving cybercrime and data breaches.
“This is crucial for deciding a wide variety of legal issues, including cybercrime, data breach, privacy infringement, intellectual property conflicts, and more.
It is predicted that “problems bordering on rights, obligations, and liabilities and how they intersect with national security concerns would also develop as more transactions are increasingly undertaken online.
For judges to “make just and equitable rulings and judgments,” as the NCC chief put it, “as digital technologies continue to shape the way we communicate, conduct business, and share information, they need to be well-versed in the intricacies of these systems.”