In the past, the ordinary man in the street, often perceived the fourth realm of the estate and the polity, as both representing two atomistic and opposing entities perpetually colliding against each other. Yes in primordial times, both were compartmentalized in their various spheres of jurisdiction.But as society evolved with the impact of industrialization, globalization, economic growth on the common man, and the need to assuage the impact of bureaucracy, lawyers have thinned out from the erstwhile realm of stuffy jurisprudence, criminal advocacy and court room gravitas to a popular culture of public interest lawyering.
Public interest, work to affect government policies and raise awareness concerning issues that they believe are in the realm of the common weal. It refers to legal practices undertaken to help poor or marginalized people, or to effect change in social policies in the over arching interest of the common man. It is a pro bono enterprise, engaged not for profit. It is not a body of law or a legal field, matters lawyers work on. Distinguished from corporate law, public interest law practice embrace but not limited to issues related AIDS , HIV, Animal Issues, Arts , Entertainment, Bankruptcy, Debt Business Economic Issues, children, youth, civil liberties, Communications, Consumer, Criminal Death Penalty, Disability, Domestic Violence, Family, Homelessness Housing, Human Rights, Intellectual Property, Technology, Labor , Employment, Personal Injury , Medical Malpractice , Products Liability, Property , Real Estate, Ethnic Justice , Cultural Rights, Religious Issues, Reproductive Issues, Tax, Trade, Democratic Process.
The 2019 conference of the Nigerian Bar Association -Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) themed “Lawyering in the public interest” to be held at The ADDREX Hotel, Aba, Abia State from 6th to 8th November, 2019 is organizing, this summit as part of its corporate social responsibility, to government and society. The choice of Aba- The Japan of Nigeria and the safest city in Nigeria is a testimony and vote of confidence on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s imprimatur in repositioning the ENYIMBA city both as an investment and tourist destination.
Expected are top of the range resource persons from Nigeria and overseas who are expected to proffer their erudition in themes ranging from Managing security challenges and public interest issues,to Business and Human Rights;Global Principles and Best Practices, anti corruption fights,armed insurgency, breach of public trust by public officials and private citizens.
Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the Abia State Governor, and the good people of the great Enyimba city will, as usual, play the good hosts and provide their traditional warmth.
It is hoped that at the end of this conference, the outcomes will provide new pathways for increased awareness in public interest lawyering.
My dear colleagues, welcome to Aba, the Enyimba City!
Ememanka is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. He is a lawyer, who, for the sake of the public interest, is on sabbatical from active law practice.