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The Judiciary
Today:Saturday, November 01, 2014


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While the Legislature is responsible for making laws and the Executive is charged with the imple- mentation of such law, the Judiciary is responsible for the interpretation of the law in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. In line with the doctrine of separation of powers, which is a cardinal feature of a democratic system, the Nigerian Constitution guarantees the independence of the Judiciary.

The Constrtution provides for Federal and State Courts, as well as Election Tribunals. At the apex of the Judiciary is the Supreme Court.

The other Federal Courts are:

  • The Court of Appeal
  • The Federal High Court
  • The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja
  • The Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capita! Territory, Abuja.
  • The Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory.

» The State Courts are:

  • The High Court
  • The Sharia Court of Appeal
  • The Customary Court of Appeal

The Election Tribunals are:

The National Assembly Election Tribunals
The Govemorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunals

In addition to the Courts and Tribunals established by the Constitution, there are other court and tribunals created by Federal or State laws. These include:

Magistrate Courts, Area Courts, Sharia Courts and Customary Courts.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federa! Territory, Abuja are all appointed by the President on the advice of the National Judicial Council subject to the consent of the Senate.

The President also appoints the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in the same manner as friose of the other Federal Courts. All other judicial appointments to the Federal Courts are made by the President on the advice of the National Judicial Council.

The Governors appoint the Chief Judges of the States, the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, in those States where those courts exist, on the advice of the National Judicial Council and the State House of Assembly. All other judicial appoint- ments to State Courts are made by the Governor of the State on the advice of the National Judicial Council.

The Supreme Court, the highest court of lhe land, has both original and appellate jurisdictions. The Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in any justiciable dispute between the Federaitlon and a State or between States. The Court also has exclu- sive jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court is duly constituted if not less than five Justices of the Court hear the matter. However, where the court is con- sidering an appeal on a constitutional matter or exercising its original jurisdiction, seven Justices shall constitute the Court

The Court of Appeal has exclusive original jurisdiction to determine any question in respect of the election, term of office or vacancy in frie office of the President or Vice-President. The Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction to hear and deter- mine appeals from all Federal Courts and State Courts established by the Constitution, decisions of all Election Tribunals, Code of Conduct Tribunal, court marshals or other tribunals as may be pre- scribed by the National Assembly.

The Court of Appeal is duly constituted by at least three Justices of the Court. However, when if is considering appeals from a Sharia Court of Appeal or a Customary Court of Appeal, the Court must consist of at least three Justices of the Court learned in Islamic Personal Law or three Justices of the Court learned in Customary law respectively.

The Federal High Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in respect of matters involving the revenue of the Federal Government and or its agencies, taxation of companies, admiralty, customs, companies affairs, banking regulation, intellectual property, citizenship and immigration, bankruptcy and insolvency, aviation, drug and poisons, weights and measures, mines and minerals, including oil and gas and any action involving the Federal Government or any of its agencies. The Court also has criminal jurisdiction in respect of treason, treasonable felony and allied offenses and also in respect of criminal causes and matters in which it has civil jurisdiction.

A Judge of the Court seating constitutes the courts. Divisions of the court are situated in various parts of the country.

The State High Courts have unlimited jurisdiction in their respective states to hear and determine civil and criminal matters subject to the exclusive jurisdiction conferred on the Federal High Court in respect of specified matters. They are also empowered to exercise appellate or supervisory jurisdiction over lower courts in their respective States.

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has similar jurisdiction in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as the State High Court has in a State. State High Courts and the High Court of the Federal Territory are duly constituted by a single Judge of the court seating.

The Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capita! Territory, Abuja, and the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State have appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of Islamic personal law in their respective jurisdictions. These Courts are duly constituted with three Khadis of the Courts sitting.

The Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and the Customary Court of Appeal of a State have appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involv- ing questions of customary taw in their respective jurisdictions.

In addition to the courts established by the Constitution, there exist Magistrate, Area and Customary Courts which are established by the National Assembly in respect of the Federal Capita! Territory, Abuja and the State House of Assembly in respect of a State. These courts have limited civil and criminal jurisdiction conferred on them by their respective enabling law.

 



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