By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Prof. Teddy Idiabeta, an expert in legal practitioner research, has called on stakeholders in the judiciary to embrace legal practitioner research methodologies in solving specific problems.
Idiabeta, who teaches at Advanced Business School of Research and Legal Innovations Online, made call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
He said that the judicial system had overplayed legal research and neglected practitioner research.
According to him, legal research is conventional research which lawyers carry out during a case, whereas practitioner research is aimed at solving specific problems with a view of improving justice administration.
He said that some sectors, including health, had been forward-looking and improving because they were applying practitioner research methodologies.
“Legal research is based on looking at what has happened before to solve a case, but legal practitioner research involves critical reasoning and new methods to solve problems, which will become a reference point because it works within a case-by-case research approach which legal research will adopt.
“Because of the conservative nature of law, practitioner research is not fully applied; legal practitioner research is practice-based,” he said.
He said that the judicial system had done well to an extent, but argued that there was still room for improvement since resolving some issues was still a challenge.
He said that some legal problems encountered recently would have been avoided if creative practitioner research methodologies were applied.
“What we lack is creative legal practitioner research methodologies in the justice administration system.
“We can have a justice administration system that is hitch-free and easy. This will help to resolve issues around corruption in Nigeria.
“That is why legal practitioner research is unconventional, full-time practice-based and aimed at evaluating workplace needs and promoting continuous professional development,” he said.
Idiabeta, who is also the Tech, Media and Entertainment Law Consultant at Prof. Teddy Idiabeta Law Consult, said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) was gradually making research faster and easier.
He, however, said that AI should not be relied on totally since it was programmed by humans and could encounter problems.
“AI can generate data that may appear in sync with your research but critical thinking becomes necessary. Lawyers should be able to combine both.
“Technology engaged during research should not take the place of legal reasoning,” he said.
Idiabeta said that research was the bedrock of the legal profession and the foundation of law practice. (NAN)
Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ijeoma Popoola