NBA-SBL & NIC Sectoral Bar Bench Forum

The National Industrial Court (NIC) in collaboration with the Employment, Labour and Industrial Relations Committee of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) organised the Bar Bench Forum as part of its lined-up activities to mark the Legal Year 2022/2023. The overall theme of the Forum was; Labour Justice and Socio-economic Development; and was held on the 7th of October 2022 at the NIC Building, Abuja.

The event which was organised as a hybrid had over 100 persons as physical attendees and about 250 virtual attendees which comprised Senior Advocates, Judicial Staff, members of the NBA-SBL, Legal Practitioners, and the general public. The event was a no holds barred interaction and was facilitated by the NIC as a way of improving and strengthening the existing cordial relationships and cooperation between the Court and Bar, according to the NIC Hon. President, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, PhD, led other Judges of the Court to the event.

Questions were asked and answered were provided by NIC Hon. President and his team on the NIC Practice Directions recently issued, the filing of Applications/Motions in Trade Union Matters
and Marking of Exhibits amongst others.

There were also questions on NIC’s stand in the area of j garnishee, sexual harassment in the workplace, unfair labour practice, and whether or not an employer is under investigation for gross
misconduct can resign from his employment, unreasonable termination of employees appointment, telecommuting, working remotely and relevant devices to monitor employees’ actual performance and productivity, Rules of fair hearing and its breaches, the opportunity for proper cross-examination of matters before the Court, basic rules of unfair labour practices, digitalization of the world of work, compensation matters, the rights of the employers and the employees, grey areas of labour law and practices etc.

In her speech, the President of the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs. Deborah Thomas-Felix, said it had become necessary for the court to engage the Bar and other judicial stakeholders in order to be at par with current global trends. She further advised that a forum where the Bar, trade unions, and court spend time analysing and not criticizing issues on labour law to make things better should be encouraged.

In the same vein, the Chairman, NBA-SBL, Dr. Adeoye Adefulu, who participated virtually, applauded the leadership of the NIC for the brilliant initiatives as well as the opportunity afforded the NBA-SBL Committee on Employment, Labour and Industrial Relations to collaborate on the subject matter. He also pledged that the NBA-SBL would continue to leverage the strength of its existing relationship with the NIC to educate members and other legal practitioners on how the Industrial Court works and the reasons behind some of its decisions as enshrined in its practice directions.

Mr. Ose Okpeku, Chairman of the NBA-SBL Employment Labour and Industrial Relations Committee thanked NIC for the opportunity to collaborate on the Bar Bench Forum. He expressed worries over the way and manner some Human Resource Practitioners and Legal Practitioners were still applying common law principles in labour and employment law. He further acknowledged the NIC for its innovativeness and forward-thinking approach thereby justifying the wisdom in creating the Court as a specialized one.

In her closing remark, the Administrative Officer of Lagos Judicial division, Justice Maureen Esowe commended the efforts of the Hon. President, Judges of NIC, the NBA-SBL and every participant. She maintained that the engagement had no doubt cleared some grey areas of Nigeria labour laws.

The event was declared an annual event and would be included in the Legal Year Calendar going forward.

Sights from the Forum



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