Chapter VII – The Judicature, Part IV – Supplemental

 Chapter VII РThe Judicature, Part IV

Supplemental

 

286. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution-

(a) where by the Law of a State jurisdiction is conferred upon any court for the hearing and determination of civil causes and of appeals arising out of such causes, the court shall have like jurisdiction with respect to the hearing and determination of Federal causes and of appeals arising out of such causes:

(b) where by the Law of a State jurisdiction is conferred upon any court for the investigation, inquiry into, or trial of persons accused of offences against the Laws of the State and with respect to the hearing and determination of appeals arising out of any such trial or out of any proceedings connected therewith, the court shall have like jurisdiction with respect to the investigation, inquiry into, or trial of persons for Federal offences and the hearing and determination of appeals arising out of the trial or proceedings; and

(c) the jurisdiction conferred on a court of a state pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be exercised in conformity with the practice and procedure for the time being prescribed in relation to its jurisdiction over civil or criminal causes other than Federal causes.

(2) Nothing in the provisions of this section shall be construed, except in so far as other provisions have been made by the operation of sections 299 and 301 of this Constitution, as conferring jurisdiction as respects Federal causes or Federal offences upon a court presided over by a person who is not or has not been qualified to practice as a legal practitioner in Nigeria.

(3) In this section, unless the context otherwise requires –

” causes” includes matter;

“Federal cause” means civil or criminal cause relating to provisions of the National Assembly has power to make laws; and

“Federal offence” means an offence contrary to the provisions of Act of the National Assembly or any law having effect as if so enacted.

287. (1) The decisions of the Supreme court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the supreme Court.

(2) The decisions of the Court of Appeal shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the court of Appeal.

(3) The decisions of the Federal High Court, a High Court and of all other courts established by this Constitution shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by other courts of law with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Federal High Court, a High Court and those other courts, respectively.

288. (1) In exercising his powers under the foregoing provisions of this Chapter in respect of appointments to the offices of Justices of the Supreme court and Justices of the Court of Appeal, the President shall have regard to the need to ensure that there are among the holders of such offices persons learned in Islamic personal law and persons learned in Customary law.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section –

(a) a person shall be deemed to be learned in Islamic personal law if he is a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years in the case of a Justice of the Supreme Court or not less than twelve years in the case of a Justice of the Court of Appeal and has in either case obtained a recognized qualification in Islamic law from an institution acceptable to the national Judicial Council; and

(b) a person shall be deemed to be learned in Customary law if he is a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years in the case of a Justice of the Supreme Court or not less than twelve years in the case of a Justice of the Court of Appeal and has in either case and in the opinion of the National Judicial Council considerable knowledge of and experience in the practice of Customary law.

289. No legal practitioner shall be qualified for appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal or a Judge of a Federal High Court or a Judge of a High Court or a kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or a Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal whilst he is a member of the National Judicial Council or Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja or a State Judicial Service Commission, and he shall remain so disqualified until a period of three years has elapsed since he ceased to be member.

290. (1) A person appointed to any judicial office shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed under this Constitution and has subsequently taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the Judicial Oath prescribed in the seventh Schedule to this Constitution.

(2) The oaths aforesaid shall be administered by the person for the time being authorized by law to administer such oaths.

291. (1) A judicial officer appointed to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal may retire when he attains the age of sixty-five years and he shall cease to hold office when he attains the age of seventy years.

(2) A judicial officer appointed to any other court, other than those specified in subsection (1) of this section may retire when he attains the age of sixty years and he shall cease to hold office when he attains the age of sixty-five years.

(3) Any person who has held office as a judicial officer –

(a) for a period of not less than fifteen years shall, if he retires at or after the age of sixty-five years in the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, a Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of the court of Appeal or a Justice of the Court of Appeal or at or after the age of sixty years in any other case, be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to his last annual salary and all his allowances in addition to any other retirement benefits to which he may be entitled;

(b) for a period of less than fifteen years shall, if he retires at or after the age of sixty-five years or sixty years, as the case may be, be entitled to pension for life at a rate as in paragraph (a) of this subsection pro rata the number of years he served as a judicial officer in relation to the period of fifteen years, and all his allowances in addition to other retirement benefits to which he may be entitled under his terms and conditions of service; and

(c) in any case, shall be entitled to such pension and other retirement benefits as may be regulated by an Act o the National Assembly or by a Law of a House of Assembly of a State.

(4) Nothing in this section or elsewhere in this Constitution shall preclude the application of the provisions of any other law that provides for pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits for persons in the public service of the Federation or a State.

292. (1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances –

(a) in the case of –

(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.

(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,

Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;

(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.

(2) Any person who has held office as a judicial officer shall not on ceasing to be a judicial officer for any reason whatsoever thereafter appear or act as a legal practitioner before any court of law or tribunal in Nigeria.

293. Except for the purposes of exercising any jurisdiction conferred by this Constitution or by any other law, every court established under this Constitution shall be deemed to be duly constituted notwithstanding any vacancy in the membership of the court.

294. (1) Every court established under this Constitution shall deliver its decision in writing not later than ninety days after the conclusion of evidence and final addresses and furnish all parties to the cause or matter determined with duly authenticated copies of the decision within seven days of the delivery thereof.

(2) Each Justice of the Supreme Court or of the Court of Appeal shall express and deliver his opinion in writing, or may state in writing that he adopts the opinion of any other Justice who delivers a written opinion:

Provided that it shall not be necessary for the Justices who heard a cause or matter to be present when judgment is to be delivered and the opinion of a Justice may be pronounced or read by any other Justice whether or not he was present at the hearing.

(3) A decision of a court consisting of more than one Judge shall be determined by the opinion of the majority of its members.

(4) For the purpose of delivering its decision under this section, the Supreme court, or the court of Appeal shall be deemed to be duly constituted if at least one member of that court sits for that purpose.

(5) The decision of a court shall not be set aside or treated as a nullity solely on the ground of non-compliance with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section unless the court exercising jurisdiction by way of appeal or review of that decision is satisfied that the party complaining has suffered a miscarriage of justice by reason thereof.

(6) As soon as possible after hearing and deciding any case in which it has been determined or observed that there was non-compliance with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the person presiding at the sitting of the court shall send a report on the case to the Chairman of the National Judicial Council who shall keep the Council informed of such action as the Council may deem fit.

295. (1) Where any question as to the interpretation or application of this Constitution arises in any proceedings in any court of law in any part of Nigeria (other than in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court or a High Court) and the court is of the opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court may, and shall if any of the parties to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the Federal High Court or a High Court having jurisdiction in that part of Nigeria and the Federal High Court or the High Court shall

(a) if it is of opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, refer the question to the Court of Appeal;

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(b) if it is of opinion that the question does not involve a substantial question of law, remit the question to the court that made the reference to be disposed of in accordance with such directions as the Federal High Court or the High Court may think fit to give.

(2) Where any question as to the interpretation or application of this constitution arises in any proceedings in the Federal High Court or a High Court, and the court is of opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the Court of Appeal; and where any question is referred in pursuance of this subsection, the court shall give its decision upon the question and the court in which the question arose shall dispose of the case in accordance with that decision.

(3) Where any question as to the interpretation or application of this constitution arises in any proceedings in the Court of Appeal and the court is of opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the Supreme Court which shall give its decision upon the question and give such directions to the Court of Appeal as it deems appropriate.

296. In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, “office” when used with reference to the validity of an election to an office includes the office of President of the Federation, Vice-President of the Federation and Governor or Deputy Governor of a State but does not include the office of President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Speaker of a House of Assembly or any office established by this Constitution.