[MISS or MRS]: Prof. Odinkalu, 2 other Right Activists Write Federal High Court Chief Judge Over Discriminatory Practice against Female Lawyers by Judges (See Petition)

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Chidi Odinkalu

Leading human right activist and former chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Anselem Odinkalu, and two other human right activists has written a petition to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Honorable Justice John Tsoho over a discriminatory practice by the Judges of the FHC, against female lawyers appearing in their courts.


The petition dated 21st day of September, co-signed by Gloria Mabelam Ballason, Esq, of “House of Justice” and Abiodun Baiyewu, Esq of “Global Rights”, which was also made available to  BarristerNG.com, stated that female Lawyers are forced by Judges to indicate their marital status while appearing before the judges.

The petition reads in part “…..came to our attention and we have independently verified that “several honourable judges of the Federal High Court in different places insist on asking female counsel appearing before them to indicate whether they are married or single by requiring them to make a mandatory choice between the honorific titles “Mrs” or “Miss” when they announce themselves in court”.

They further claimed that any female lawyer that refuses to do so, usually “run into trouble with conducting her cases, suffer unacceptable bullying from the court or jeering and sniggering”, and other unfair treatment.

They noted that this treatment has no basis in the rule of court or the Law applicable to the Federal High Court.

They further noted that this practice is in violation of section 34 of the 1999 Constitution guaranteeing the right to dignity of human person and also, section 42(1) of the Constitution prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, “which equally extends to the equal protection of the laws of all users of the courts, especially to female advocates”.

They appealed to the Chief Judge to take prompt action to bring this practice to a halt.

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