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Appraising the constitutionality of virtual court hearings in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria

Emuobo Emudainohwo


The paper inquires whether virtual hearing introduced in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), through its Practice Directions and Guidelines for Court Sitting 2020, as a result of the Covd-19 is unconstitutional. This is against the backdrop of section 36 (1), (3) and (4) of the Nigerian Constitution which stipulates that the proceedings and decisions of a court should be held in public. It uses the rules of judicial interpretation as a framework and argues that a broad interpretation could be applied by the higher courts to section 36(1), (3) and (4) of the Constitution to validate virtual hearing in the NICN. It further relies on other grounds to argue that virtual hearing is not unconstitutional. Attempt was also made to answer the question whether virtual hearing in the NICN is a temporary or permanent procedure. Virtual hearing in the NICN has been used to advance the arguments herein.

Keywords: Virtual Hearings, Industrial Court, Constitution, Judicial Interpretation