July 21, 2020
CONTROVERSIES SURROUNDING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE VIRTUAL COURT PROCEEDINGS HAVE FINALLY BEEN SETTLED BY THE SUPREME COURT!
By Felix Ayem (Associate)
The untold controversies about the constitutionality or otherwise that greeted the introduction of the virtual court proceedings by some states’ judiciaries in Nigeria seem to have come to an end following the recent pronouncement of the Apex Court on the matter.
Recall that few weeks ago, the Lagos State government and some other states released guidelines or Practice Directions for remote conduct of court proceedings using modern technologies such as zoom, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc to keep alive, the administration of justice during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
The foregoing, generated serious controversies from the general public with most senior lawyers rendering their revered voices on whether the conduct of virtual court proceedings is constitutional or otherwise.
The controversy also prompted the National Assembly to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to accommodate or rather legalise the conduct of virtual court proceedings in Nigeria. This did not go down well with Lagos and Ekiti States where implementation of the Practice Directions for remote hearing had already commenced.
Lagos State in particular was apprehensive that if the National Assembly is allowed to proceed with the passage of the bill and the constitution is consequently amended, it will mean that all virtual court proceedings conducted and decisions taken thereof by those courts would be voided. In light of that, the two States approached the Supreme Court for a decisive determination on the issue of constitutionality or otherwise of the virtual court proceedings already ongoing in those states and in fact, any other state in Nigeria.
Download full Newsletter here supreme court pdf(1)… as a Pdf document.
July 6, 2020
EVALUATING THE LEGALITY OF VIRTUAL MEETINGS UNDER THE COMPANIES AND ALLIED MATTERS ACT OF NIGERIA
BY Akorede Folarin (Associate)
The movement restrictions and social distancing directives issued in many jurisdictions across the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted social and commercial interactions necessitating emergency lifestyle adjustments globally. One of the prominent issues that has consequently arisen from this is the issue of the legality/propriety of companies holding their statutory and annual general meetings (AGMs) virtually in order to balance the imperatives of corporate governance and observance of the relevant company law and regulations on the one hand and compliance with the government’s COVID-19 directives on the other hand. To do this, however, Nigerian companies have been confronted with uncertainties as regards the position of Nigerian corporate law on virtual company meetings.
This article will explore the uncertainties surrounding remote meetings in the above context and also highlight the true position of Nigerian law on virtual meetings by private and public companies, whilst proffering suggestions to ameliorate the uncertainties that exist and to bring Nigerian corporate law in tune with modern realities.
2.0 Significance of Company Meetings
Company meetings are the lifeblood of a company. Whether of a company’s shareholders/members, Board of Directors (BoD), or their committees, meetings are an essential aspect of companies’ decision making process, with firm roots in corporate governance. Even more so, with annual general meetings, members’ active participation is important and desirable because it provides attendees with the opportunity to make enquiries, provide inputs and objective criticism, receive clarifications, and be generally informed about the company’s activities and wellbeing, to guide decision making. As such, companies’ AGMs afford the shareholders the opportunity to consider the progress and development of the company and to take necessary actions to safeguard their interest and promote those of the company.
Download full newsletter here VIRTUAL MEETING PDF……. as a Pdf document.