The Impact Of Technology On The Nigerian Legal System446 views
By Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi, SAN, FCIArb. (UK).
In medieval times, communication between people could only occur directly, or by sending a letter through a third party. However, the world has changed drastically. Since then, the introduction and usage of cell phones, the internet, and other developments have made life easier for people. At the centre of all these changes is Technology.
Technology is defined by the 10th edition of the Black’s Law Dictionary on Page 1692, as modern equipment, machines, and methods based on contemporary knowledge of science and computers. In simple terms, Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical human goals. The most prevalent application of Technology is the use of certain devices such as computers, scanners, telephones, photocopy and fax machines etc. However, Technology has also been applied in a wide range of other fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Medical Technology, Information Communication Technology, etc.
Technology has impacted almost every sphere of human life. Every element of human activity has been affected by technology, whether in a beneficial or detrimental way. This holds true for the Nigerian legal system as well. The main focus of this article is to examine the impact of Technology on the Nigerian Legal System.
THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON THE NIGERIAN LEGAL SYSTEM
Technology plays a very crucial role in legal education and practice in Nigeria. The Nigerian legal system has been impacted by technology in the following ways:
- SPEEDY DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE
One of the major challenges of the Nigerian Legal system is the backlog of cases. The judiciary is already overwhelmed with a lot of information and data, as well as a large number of cases. The application of technology in the judicial process has made it easier to access information, enabled swift and accurate research, and improved the delivery of justice thereby curbing the delay in the dispensation of justice.
- COMPUTER-AIDED LEGAL RESEARCH
Technology has also impacted the Nigerian Legal System with computer-aided legal research and instructions. The introduction of online legal research sites such as LexisNexis, Legal Pedia, and Law Pavilion has lessened the difficulties of research as legal resources are easily accessible on the Internet. Law Pavilion is a Nigerian electronic law report and research software that judges, magistrates, lawyers, and even students can use. Law Pavilion makes legal research easier and faster than ever before. Law Pavilion also provides a case management system for law firms and a court management system.
- VIDEO CONFERENCING
The COVID-19 pandemic produced fundamental changes in the Nigerian legal system and opened the door to the usage of video conferencing innovations, which have now become ubiquitous. Video conferencing has eliminated physical barriers that could have hampered collaboration. Lawyers can now meet and negotiate with their clients from anywhere using video conferencing. It has also aided legal education by allowing students to attend online lectures. The pandemic also introduced the concept of Remote Court Proceedings (RCP) into the Nigerian legal system. Although this has not yet been fully adopted, it is in the planning stages.
- ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The introduction of Online Dispute Resolution is another notable impact of technology on the Nigerian legal system. Online dispute resolution (ODR) is a type of dispute resolution that employs technology to help parties resolve issues. ODR includes any type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that use the Internet, websites, e-mail, communications, streaming media, and other information technology as part of the dispute resolution process. To provide Alternative Dispute Resolution, ODR makes use of the resources provided by the Internet and technology in general.
- SOCIAL MEDIA UTILIZATION
Social media has also had a huge impact on legal practice in Nigeria. It is a means of networking with colleagues, clients, and potential clients. Law firms also use websites and blogs to improve their practice and broaden their client base. They can contribute to legal education through this medium by writing commentaries and articles on judicial decisions and various legal concepts. Also, Lawyers can now network, discuss ideas, and seek assistance from their colleagues through online legal communities.
- IMPROVED LEGAL SERVICES
Technology has also had a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of law firms and legal offices. With the advent of legal technology, there is increased transparency between law firms and clients. Clients are aware of the fees they must pay and can check the lawyer’s progress on their case on a daily basis. It has also boosted the efficiency and productivity of legal offices and clerical personnel. This has been proven to be incredibly beneficial to every law firm.
Technology has not come to replace lawyers but to make their jobs easier, faster, and more precise. However, those who are unprepared for the changes that technology is bringing and has already brought to the legal system will undoubtedly fall behind.
Technology has impacted almost every sphere of human life. Every element of human activity has been affected by technology, whether in a beneficial or detrimental way. This holds true for the Nigerian legal system as well. The main focus of this article is to examine the impacts of Technology on the Nigerian Legal System.
Key terms: Technology, the Nigerian Legal System, Technology and law
Mr. Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi, SAN is the Managing Partner of O. M. Atoyebi, S.A.N & Partners (OMAPLEX Law Firm).
Mr. Atoyebi has expertise in and vast knowledge of Corporate Law Practice and this has seen him advise and represent his vast clientele in a myriad of high-level transactions. He holds the honour of being the youngest lawyer in Nigeria’s history to be conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTOR: Romeo Pupu
Romeo is a member of the Dispute Resolution Team at OMAPLEX Law Firm. He also holds commendable legal expertise in Technology Law Practice
He can be reached at email@example.com