Nigeria Legal System Reforms


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The importance of today`s event is reinforced by the number of prominent lawyers and academics gathered to discuss the theme of this event. It is generally accepted that the essence of reform is to focus on problems in order to eliminate them. Taking stock of reforms, on the other hand, means identifying the progress made and where much remains to be done to improve the relevant rules and procedures. as well as the ability to persevere. The burden of justice goes beyond the attributes of impartiality, equality or fairness of the judge, which we are primarily trying to generalize as justice. It covers the multitude of state and civil society institutions in the justice sector with different stakeholders, who must also play their role with a clear understanding of the importance of their contributions. In implementing reforms in the justice sector, there were three key assumptions, the truths of which were clear to all. The first is that by the time we adopt best practices, we will achieve the desired objectives. The second is that all key stakeholders understand what is at stake and, in the worst case, their skills and knowledge need to be improved. Third, all key stakeholders demonstrate the appropriate discipline and commitment. A lot of money was invested in these reforms: «In 2000 and 2001, 22 new courtrooms were built for the Supreme Court and 18 were renovated. at a price of over $9.6 million. [7] In recent months, the Nigerian legislature`s drafting and adoption of a new law to revise the legal framework for international commercial arbitration in Nigeria has reached its peak.

On 10 May 2022, the Nigerian Senate passed the Arbitration and Mediation Bill 2022 (the «Act»). The Bill will repeal the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1988 (the «1988 Act») and replace it with the Arbitration and Mediation Act. A final step remains until the law comes into force. This is the approval of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and is expected shortly. In order to encourage the use of mediation, clause 87 of the Bill explicitly codifies the application of the Singapore Convention on Mediation to international settlement agreements concluded in States other than Nigeria, provided that: (i) the State is a party to the Singapore Convention (reciprocity); and (ii) the dispute arises out of what would be considered a «commercial» legal relationship under Nigerian law. Access to justice and civil justice reform are also core activities of the HURILAWS programme for legal and judicial sector reform. The Nigerian Judicial Procedures Project (NCPP), launched in 1998, aimed to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian judiciary to protect human rights. The objective of the project is to significantly reduce or eliminate delays in judicial proceedings, particularly in human rights cases, by reforming the civil procedure system in Nigeria`s high courts. HURILAWS worked with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies to produce a report that was adopted by the Lagos State Government in its revised Civil Procedure Rules in 2005 and the Speed of Justice Training Manual on Case Management in 2014. During the 16 years of military rule that ended in 1999, inefficiency and corruption were widespread throughout the Nigerian legal system. «In 1997, the average length of commercial cases before the Lagos Court was over four years, and new cases filed in the late 1990s had no reasonable chance of being completed within ten years.

People had no confidence in justice through the courts. [1] The lawyer continued: «There are many of our procedural laws that are not in keeping with this age, and these have raised many problems in our justice system and the administration of justice. It has been stressed elsewhere that one of the main objectives of a legal reform commission is to ensure regular review of a country`s laws and statutes, to take into account all amendments and adaptations to laws and to remove from existing legislation all repealed, obsolete, published and other unnecessary matters. These state reforms were carried out as part of a broader federal reform carried out primarily by the National Council of the Judiciary, an independent body that can recommend the appointment and removal of judges to the president and governors of states. [5] The Council was established under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and established a review committee of judges in 2001.

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