AN OVERVIEW OF THE NIGERIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM; ACHIEVEMENTS, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS (A CASE STUDY OF LAGOS STATE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE)
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NIGERIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The judiciary is an arm of government that vested with the power to interpret laws made by the Legislature. Judiciary is a system of courts that interprets and implements laws in a state. They are in charge of providing a system that settles arguments. While in some countries under separation of powers, the judiciary does not have the power to make or enforce law as it is the duty of the legislature.
In some countries, the judiciary has the right to make law which is known as “Common Law”. The judiciary is frequently expected to ensure there is equal justice.
In most cases, it is not everything said by a judge in the course of his judgment that is important. Only a formal declaration on law in conjunction to the material fact before the judge is important. Therefore, ajudicial precedent is the principle of law on which a judicial decision centers on. Once a court is called upon to apply the decision in a recent case, the court is required to follow the pattern of the previous decision.
There are numerous challenges facing the judiciary. They are challenges of advocacy. An advocate is the most misunderstood professional. In some jurisdictions uniqueness is seen between a barrister and solicitor in the sense that it is only the barrister that can physically present itself before a court to debate on a case, while the solicitor on the other hand will take the brief from the client. In Nigeria, immediately one of them iscapable or seen to be competent to practice law, he is automatically a barrister and solicitor of the supreme courts of Nigeria and therefore qualifies to debate on any case in any of the courts of the country. Being that some people perceive an advocate in the positive light of assisting a client in claiming his or her rights by his powers of insistence and eloquence and thus view legal practice as a superb profession to save executive lawlessness, others perceive these qualities of an advocate to be a way to cut throats.
Another challenge facing the judiciary is the challenge of corruption. Corruption and perceptions of corruption in the judiciary underestimates the courts’ power of inspiring belief as fighters of corruption. More especially, it gradually destroys trust in the courts’ impartiality, harming all the major judicial functions, which includes as dispute resolution, law enforcement, protection of lands and property rights and contract enforcement. In addition, it harms the wider accountability duty that the judiciary is committed with in democratic systems – giving complete support to citizens’ rights, securing the integrity of the political rules of the game, and sanctioning representatives of other branches when they act in contradiction of the law.
Another challenge of the judiciary is that of legal practice. The most significant rule to be noted and the rule to be respected to be changed is that our courts of law should operate or function “in public”. We must not fail to realize that we may well rule ourselves out of the capacity to adapt to technological developments if we understand the necessity or demand for our courts to function “in public” as meaning only that they must operate in a place and at times open to “the public.” This is because we want to avoid “secluded justice”. If improvement in the electronic media make it possible to conduct any proceedings in a cause ormatter through the inter-Net more productively, our rules of practice and procedure ought not to stand in the way of conducting those proceedings in that way.
STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
Though the Nigerian judiciary has recorded amazing improvement in recent times; the poor performance and the corruption of the judicial system in Nigeria has had a devastating effect as it is no longer seen as the hope of the common man. These poor or averages performance may have been caused by some challenges and problems which has regrettably affected the development of our nascent democracy.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the challenges, prospects and achievements of the Nigerian judiciary. Other specific objectives of the study include;
To examine the challenges confronting the Nigerian judicial system.
To determine the relationship between th challenges confronting the Nigerian judicial system and their achievement in Nigeria.
To examine the prospects of the Nigerian judicial system.
To know the contribution of the Nigerian judicial system to national and democratic development.
What are the challenges confronting the Nigerian judicial system?
What is the relationship between the challenges confronting the Nigerian judicial system and their achievement in Nigeria?
What are the prospects of the Nigerian judicial system?
What is the contribution of the Nigerian judicial system to national and democratic development?
H0: There is no significant relationship between challenges of the Nigerian judicial system and their achievement in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between challenges of the Nigerian judicial system and their achievement in Nigeria.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense importance to legal practitioners, the Nigerian judiciary and relevant stakeholders as it would reveal the challenges, achievement and prospects of the Nigerian judiciary system with a view to improving on it. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing a further study on the subject matter.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is on the achievement, challenges and prospects of the Nigerian judicial system a case study of the Lagos state ministry of justice.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.