Mutual Understanding At Least!

In a State of law, lawyers, defence and security forces likewise magistrates play preponderant roles in enforcing the rule of law. The former; by virtue of their licensing to practice law, uphold the law while also protecting the rights of their clients among other very important tasks notably providing legal counsel and drawing up legal documents. Meanwhile, judicial or legal officers; in this case magistrates, conscientiously administer justice.


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These professionals therefore have interwoven roles to play in ensuring that justice follows its normal path for citizens and corporate bodies to go about their activities with little fear. Inasmuch as they have varying interests, with one defending and the other applying the law, the two are bound to go together. In fact, one cannot function normally without the other.    


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The yet another standoff between lawyers and magistrates with announced sit-down of the men and women in black robes may have many repercussions than the eye is presently seeing. The November 10, 2020 incidence in Douala where lawyers were allegedly manhandled for clamouring for the release of their colleagues held on charges of purported corruption is no doubt at the origin of the current wrangling, but not an isolated one at least. Cases of deadlock between lawyers and government are numerous. The 2016 strike of Common Law Lawyers over the non-respect of existing principles in certain jurisdictions which regrettably slipped off their hands and spiralled into raging armed conflicts in the North West and South West Regions vividly comes to mind. Deplorable bickering where harmony is expected most!


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Disagreement, one would say, is inevitable in a society of diverse people with as many interests. Normally, the difference should each time quickly lead to agreement for a calm continuity and perfection of the country’s judicial system. It shouldn’t be allowed to rage on for too long. For, such a scenario would leave untold damages on court proceedings and by extension the time and quality of rulings rendered. Is it not said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied?’ The current standoff, if left to drag on, will undeniably lead to this. This would be defeating what would have been a common course of speeding up trials to decongest the country’s incarceration premises said to be containing far more than they were meant to. The collective polishing up of the country’s human rights situation passes through the quality of justice which emanates from fair and legally-binding interactions between stakeholders. 


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There is therefore need for mutual understanding between the two vital actors of the country’s legal system. And since he who talks of mutual understanding makes reference to mutual respect, the different actors absolutely need to show proof of responsibility in their day-to-day reasoning and functioning. Lawyers and magistrates may never be friends given that their interests are almost always at variance, but they must not be enemies. Or they must not paint a picture of dog/mouse relationship in the public eye, else what people would take home could just be what the two bodies would not want to endorse.


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The 2016 lawyers’ strike in the North West and South West greatly crippled court cases in the restive regions with innumerable damages on those who sought justice. It would be detrimental for such a situation to prevail again, worse still across the country as is being reported. For the sake of speedy and equitable justice, the varying factions should give dialogue a chance, jointly seek and take appeasement routes for continuity of service. This is called selfless service to the nation where personal ego is forfeited for common good!


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