Federal Republic of Nigeria

NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL

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Frequently Asked Questions

The National Judicial Council is one of the Federal Executive Bodies created by virtue of Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In order to insulate the Judiciary from the whims and caprices of the Executive; hence guarantee the independence of this Arm of Government, which is a sine qua non for any Democratic Government, the National Judicial Council was created and vested with enormous powers and functions of the erstwhile Advisory Judicial Committee (AJC) which it replaced.


The main objective of the Judicial Education and Training Policy is capacity building and improvement of Judicial Officers for better performance of Administration of Justice
The National Judicial Policy proceeds on certain basic propositions:
Continuing Judicial Education and Training is indispensable to efficient and qualitative justice delivery.
Judicial Education must be holistic, practical and supported by essential tools, such as library and use of the latest Information Technology.

Answer:

A petition is a complaint containing allegation of corruption or misconduct against a Judicial Officer.

See Judicial Disciplinary Regulation on the website

A complaint against a Judicial Officer must be addressed to the Chief Justice/Chairman of Council, and filed at the Office of the Secretary to the Council; or submitted to the Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, or submitted to the Head of Court of the Judicial Officer to whom the complaint relates.

No, there are no fees associated.

A complaint must be made within six months of the event or matter complained of; provided that a complaint relating to a continuing state of affairs may be made at any time while that state of affairs continues or within six months from when it ends.

A complaint must be in writing, unless the Chief Justice/Chairman of Council, or a Head of Court or the Council considers that in the circumstances it is reasonable to accept a complaint in another form.

A complainant may use a form prescribed by the Council and appended to these Regulations.

A complaint must contain a concise statement that details the specific facts on which the claim of misconduct or disability is based. The statement of facts should include a description of:

What happened;

When and where the relevant event happened;

Any information that would help the investigator to check the facts;

Nature of the misconduct alleged, itemized where several types of misconduct are alleged; and

For an allegation of disability, any additional facts that form the basis of the allegation.

A complaint may be typewritten or otherwise presented in a legible form. The Secretary may not accept an illegible complaint for filing and may return it to the complainant with a request to resubmit it in a legible form.

A complaint must be signed by the complainant and accompanied by a verifying affidavit deposed to by the complainant before a Court of Record.

A complaint must contain a contact address provided by the complainant. Such contact address must not be solely postal box number, but must include an address where the complainant can be located. The Secretary may not accept a complaint for filing if the address given is vague. Where in addition to a contact address a telephone number is given, such telephone number must have been registered in the name of the complainant or an identifiable person whose name is stated.

The complainant must verify in writing the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. Any complaint not so verified shall be rejected for filing by the Secretary or by the Preliminary Complaint Assessment Committee also known as the ‘Sifting Committee’.

The Secretary may request the complainant to provide as many copies of the complaint as may be required in hard or soft copies or in both.

 

Except as provided in these Regulations, a complaint against a Judicial Officer must be addressed to the Chief Justice/Chairman of Council, and filed at the Office of the Secretary to the Council; or submitted to the Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, or submitted to the Head of Court of the Judicial Officer to whom the complaint relates.

The petitioner(s) can come with acknowledgment copy of the petition written against a Judicial Officer to the Office of the Secretary, National Judicial Council, to verify the status of his petition if he has not received any correspondence from the Chairman of the National Judicial Council within the period of time of his complaint.

After considering any representations, the Investigating Committee shall within thirty days of the representations complete its report and present same to the Chief Justice of Nigeria for consideration by the Council.

A petition/complaint must be in writing, unless the Chief Justice/Chairman of Council, or a Head of Court or the Council considers that in the circumstances it is reasonable to accept a complaint in another form.

1. A complaint must be made within six months of the event or matter complained of; provided that a complaint relating to a continuing state of affairs may be made at any time while that state of affairs continues or within six months from when it ends. 2. Subject to regulation 12 of these Regulations, a complaint made outside the time limits set in paragraph (1) must be dismissed by the Council upon report to the Council by the Secretary to the Council. 3. The Secretary shall notify the person making the complaint of the dismissal not later than thirty days of such dismissal.

 The recommendation for appointment of Judicial Officers to both the Federal and State Government is done by National Judicial Council to the president or Governors of States as the case may be on the advice of the Federal Judicial Service Commission and Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory.

In all cases:

 

  1. a) Good character and reputation, diligence and hard work, honesty, integrity and sound knowledge of law and consistent adherence to professional ethics;

 

As may be applicable:

 

  1. b) Active successful practice at the Bar with 10 years post qualification experience including satisfactory presentation of cases in Court as a Legal Practitioner either in private practice or as a Legal Officer in any Public Service;

 

  1. c) Satisfactory and consistent display of sound and mature judgment in the office as a Chief Registrar or Chief Magistrate;

 

  1. d) Credible record of teaching law, legal research in a reputable University and publication of legal works, and In addition to any or all of the above:

 

  1. e) In the case of appointment of a candidate to the office of Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal, knowledge of Arabic language and grammar.

The guidelines for appointment of Judicial Officers are contained in Procedural Rules of the Council Rule Five to Six.

 

The National Judicial Council has power to appoint and exercise disciplinary control over Judicial Officers, also has power to collect, control and disburse all moneys, capital and recurrent, for the Judiciary and to deal with all matters relating to Policy and Administration.

The National Judicial Council is responsible for payment of gratuities and pensions of all retired Federal Judicial Officers vide the Federal Judicial Officers (Administration of Pension) Act 2007.

The performances of all Judicial Officers in the Federation is based on their quarterly Returns of cases to the Council

The National Judicial Council shall hold meetings as the Chief Justice of Nigeria/ Chairman may appoint.

A Judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the Judge’s activities both in his professional and private life

A Judicial Officer should respect and comply with the laws of the land and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary.

A Judge shall in his or her personal relations with individual members of the legal profession, who practice regularly in the Judge’s Court, avoid situations which might reasonably give rise to the suspicion of or appearance of favoritism or partiality.

A Judicial Officer should be true and faithful to the Constitution and the Law, uphold the course of justice by abiding with provisions of Constitution and the Law and should acquire and maintain professional competence

A Judicial Officer should abstain from comments about a pending or impending proceeding in any Court in this country, and should require similar abstention on the part of the Court personnel under his direction and control, provided that this provision does not prohibit a Judicial Officer from making statements in the course of his official duties or from explaining for public or private information, the procedure of the Court so long as such statements are not prejudicial to his integrity of the Judiciary and the administration of justice.

A Judge, like any other citizen, is entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly; but in exercising such rights, a Judge shall always conduct himself in such manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary

A Judge should not involve himself or herself inappropriately in public controversies

A Judge shall inform himself or herself about his or her personal and fiduciary financial interests and shall make reasonable efforts to be informed about the financial interests of members of the Judge’s family in respect of matters for adjudication before him

A Judge shall not allow the Judge’s family, social or other political relationships improperly to influence the Judge’s judicial conduct and judgment as a Judge

A Judge who takes advantage of the judicial office for personal gain or for gain by his or her relative or relation abuses power. A Judge must avoid all activity that suggests that his or her decisions are affected by self-interest or favouritism, since such abuse of power profoundly violates the public’s trust in the judiciary.

 

A Judge shall not use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interest of the Judge, a member of the Judge’s family or of anyone else, nor shall a Judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that anyone is in a special position improperly to influence the Judge in the performance of judicial duties.

A Judge may engage in other activities if such activities do not detract from the dignity of the judicial office or otherwise interfere with the performance of judicial duties.

A Judge and members of the Judge’s family shall neither ask for, nor accept any gift, bequest, and loan or favour in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done by the Judge in connection with performance of judicial duties.

A Judicial Officer should diligently discharge his administrative duties, maintain professional competence in judicial administration and facilitate the performance of the administrative duties of other Judicial Officers and court officials.

A Judicial Officer should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality may genuinely and reasonably be questioned

A Judicial Officer should regulate his Extra-Judicial Activities to minimize the risk of conflict with his judicial duties.

A Judicial Officer should regulate his travels within and outside Nigeria so as not to affect his judicial duties or cause delay in the administration of justice or detrimentally affect his performance or the overall performance of the judiciary. Travels outside Nigeria should be with the permission of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, after such application has been made.

  1. Interview of Nominees for Appointment as Judicial Officers of Superior Courts of Record
  2. Review of the 1999 Constitution.
  3. Performance Evaluation of Judicial Officers of Superior Courts of Record in the Federation
  4. Appointments, Promotion and Discipline
  5. Preliminary Complaints and Assessment
  6. Federal Judiciary Tenders Board
  7. Due Process of the Federal Judiciary
  8. Federal Judiciary Budget Monitoring, Evaluation of Projects and Contracts
  9. Judicial Ethics Committee

Except as provided in these Regulations, a complaint against a Judicial Officer must be addressed to the Chief Justice/Chairman of Council, and filed at the Office of the Secretary to the Council; or submitted to the Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, or submitted to the Head of Court of the Judicial Officer to whom the complaint relates.