Federal High Court issues practice directions on use of E-Affidavit

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Tsoho, has issued new Practice Directions concerning the recently introduced Electronic Affidavit (E-Affidavit).

In a statement released on Tuesday by the Chief Registrar of the Court, Sulaiman Amida Hassan, it was noted that the Chief Judge exercised his powers under Orders 57 and 58 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019, and other enabling powers, to establish these Practice Directions.

Order I: Applicability These Practice Directions will apply to E-Affidavits issued by the Federal High Court of Nigeria, except where otherwise directed by the Chief Judge.

Order II: Objectives and Guiding Principles The purpose of these Practice Directions is to implement the new E-Affidavit regime in alignment with global best practices. This includes ensuring the efficient, transparent, and prompt issuance of E-Affidavits, protecting the interests of litigants and other users, and regulating the standard of issuance of E-Affidavits upon payment of the prescribed fees.

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Order III: Implementation of the E-Affidavit Regime Without prejudice to the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019, and the Oaths Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010, all E-Affidavits will be issued by the designated E-filing Unit of the Court. The E-Affidavits will be in an electronic format with specialized features approved by the Court and will be available online from the Court’s official website.

The implementation of the E-Affidavit software will be overseen by the Deputy Chief Registrar (Litigation) and managed by the E-filing Unit. For swearing to an E-Affidavit, a deponent must upload their application electronically via a platform approved by the Chief Judge.

A task force, established by the Chief Judge, will facilitate the innovation, and the cost of each E-Affidavit will be set and reviewed by the Chief Judge as necessary. The Chief Judge may also review these Practice Directions and issue further directives based on prevailing circumstances.

These Practice Directions, titled the Federal High Court (Practice Direction on E-Affidavit), 2024, will take effect from July 1, 2024.

The E-Affidavit is not intended to replace the manually sworn affidavit but aims to ensure data protection within a user-friendly automated system for deposing E-Affidavits.

Source:

Tribune Online