The Nigerian Judiciary

15 Jun How to Be a Judge in Nigeria

The Nigerian Judiciary

The Judiciary is an important part of the Government as it is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the laws of the land are adhered to. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘last hope of the common man’. For a judiciary to be effective, one of the key concepts is that it has to be independent and impartial. The 1999 Constitution has attempted to give life to these concepts by creating certain provisions specifically to ensure the independence of the judiciary. This has to do with the process for appointment and removal of judges.

There are various levels of judges in Nigeria, and this article will briefly explain how they are appointed, who is qualified, and the requisite experience and knowledge which the judges have to possess.

The National Judicial Council is the body that is charged with recommending to the President/State Governor individuals for appointment into judicial posts, or for removal from judicial posts.

The table below shows the superior court judges recognised in Nigeria, and the requisite experience necessary.

 

Supreme Court Justice

The Supreme court is the apex court in Nigeria, and it is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and must all be qualified legal practitioners who have been qualified for at least 15 years. The appointment is by recommendation from the National Judicial Council. All Supreme Court appointments must be approved by the Senate.

 

Appeal Court Justice

This is the second highest court in the country, and appeals from the Court of Appeal lie to the Supreme Court. The Justices of the Appeal Court are appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and must all be qualified legal practitioners who have been qualified for at least 12 years. The appointment is by recommendation from the National Judicial Council. The court of appeal is headed by the President of the Court of Appeal.

 

Federal High Court Judge

Judges of the Federal High Court are appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and must have been qualified as legal practitioners for at least 10 years. Appointments are on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council. The Federal High Court is headed by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

 

Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

These Judges are appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and must have been qualified as legal practitioners for at least 10 years. Appointments are on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council. The court is headed by the Chief Judge of the High Court, FCT Abuja.

 

State High Court Judge

Judges of the High Courts of all the different States of the Federation are appointed by the Governor of the respective State, on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council. The individual must have been qualified as legal practitioners for at least 10 years. State High Courts are headed by the Chief Judge of the High Court of the respective States.

 

Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal

Kadis must be legally qualified and have at least 10 years’ post-call experience. Further, they must have obtained a recognised qualification in Islamic from an institution acceptable to the National Judicial Council. They must have considerable experience in the practice of Islamic law or be a distinguished scholar of Islamic law. Kadis are appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (and the Governor of the State in the case of a State Sharia Court of Appeal) on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, and the court is headed by a ‘Grand Kadi’.

 

Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal

Judges of the Customary Court of Appeal must be legally qualified and have at least 10 years’ post-call experience. Further, they must have considerable knowledge and experience in the practice of Customary law. The Judges in the Customary Court of Appeal of the FCT Abuja are appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (and the Governor in the case of the Customary Court of Appeal of a State) on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, and the court is headed by the President of the Customary Court of Appeal.

 

 

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We hope you have found this information helpfulPlease note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. This answer is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer. If you would like to find out more about a consultation with one of the lawyers in our network regarding a legal issue you are experiencing, you can use the free tool below to get an estimate.

 

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