ABEOKUTA: The Chief Judge of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu has charged the newly swearing-in Magistrate to uphold the ethics of profession and make justice for the masses without fear and favour.
Justice Dipeolu stated this at the swearing-in of two Magistrate to complement the existing ones, held at Judiciary Complex, Kobape Road, Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Dipeolu said that the two Magistrates have been found worthy to occupy the position of Magistrates, adding that they were versed in the law and in the administration of justice..
She added that they have acquired years of experience from the Ogun State Ministry of Justice, noting that they would put in their best in their new calling.
“My advice to the newly sworn in Magistrates is that; your lifestyle must surely change to reflect the sensitive nature of this new role.
“You must bear in mind the code of conduct of this noble profession and behave accordingly at all times. I urge the family members to support them with your prayers. I congratulate both of you once again and I wish you both success in your new roles.” Justice Dipeolu said.
The Chief Judge said that it was important to adjudge that the total number of Magistrate Courts sitting presently within the state were now Thirty-Nine (39), noting that they were all conducive for sitting with provision of befitting Quarters for Magistrates to live in to avoid the stress of traveling and to ensure their safety.
Meanwhile, the state Chief Judge, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu has opened a “Small Claims Court” so as to further bring justice closer to the people at the grassroots level by providing easy access to an informal, inexpensive and speedy resolution of simple debt recovery disputes, demands and damages that do not exceed N500,000.00.
She said that the operations at the Small Claims Court were to commence in six (6) carefully chosen Magisterial Districts, Abeokuta, Ifo, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Ota and Ilaro Magisterial Districts.
“In fact, the Magistrates chosen to man these Courts, have been carefully selected as the flag bearers, and a lot depends on you as the success of the Small Claims Court is riding on your shoulders and will determine its opening in other Magisterial Districts.
“I must warn you that you will largely have to think outside the box and learn to do away with technical justice, the Small Claims Court is largely for substantial justice”, Dipeolu said.
She added that the fees of the Small Claims Court were very cheap and affordable, noting that a seperate Registry has been created to cater for the Courts in order to avoid the clog at the regular Magistrate Court where the Magistrates also attend to Criminal cases, family and other matters.
Justice Dipeolu said that to commence an action at the Small Claims Court, the Claimant or the Claimants must reside or carry on business in the state, noting that same applies to the Defendant.
She said the claim for liquidated money demand or damages must not exceed N500,000.00 (excluding interest and cost), saying that the Claimant must have been served a letter of demand on the Defendant as in Form SCA1.
The Chief Judge added that the action shall be commenced by the completion of the complaint form SCA2, then the summons shall thereafter issue as in Form SCA3.