Legal Aids

Functions Of Nigerian Legal System

A lot of things are combining to form the Nigerian legal system. For instance, civil actions and court prosecutions as well as, contracts are the basis upon which,  the Nigerian legal system is formed.
Persons, who saddled with the responsibilities of interpreting Nigerian laws are the lawyers. They interpret the Nigerian laws to other Nigerians, who do not know or have adequate knowledge in respect to the laws of the land.
Therefore, it is this same legal knowledge that qualified a lawyer to stand in place of an individual as his or her advocates in Nigerian court.
Functions Of Nigerian Legal System
Nigerian Legal System – Photo Source:
While this is true however, it is also important that all Nigerians should not depend on lawyers for law interpretation and law explanations, including lawyers’ explanation as to, how the Nigerian legal system is working, rather they should try to get enlightened as as well seek personal information with a view to get themselves acquainted or updated with the system.
Nigerian legal system functioned based on how it is structured. In this article, i will also explain how the Nigerian legal system is structured.
Hence, the information I Wii be providing in this article,  will give the reader a clue as to how the Nigerian system is functioned. At least, it will help the reader to understand how is working in layman’s terms.
Subsequently, the likelihood therefore, is that, it will help the common man on street to understand some of his or her obligations and duties, as well as, his is her civil rights without legal training. Before, we continue, let us consider sources of Nigerian laws.

Sources Of Nigerian Laws

Sources of Nigerian laws are many. Nigeria derives its laws from a number of sources, which I am going to explain them in this article. The following are the sources of Nigerian laws.
These are, the Nigerian constitution and the laws of regulatory agencies, such as the Standards Organization of Nigeria SON, and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Commission NAFDAC among others, and customary, including Islamic law.
These laws are made by the federal government and state government through the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly respectively.

The Nigerian Courts

Nigerian courts formed some of those basis upon which, the Nigerian legal system functioned. For instance, The Nigerian courts are empowered with judicial authority, and this authority is vested on the courts to enforce the federal republic of Nigeria’s laws through the judges.
There are state’s owned courts established for the purpose of enforcing state laws, whereas, the federal government courts are there for the purpose of enforcing federal laws. Everyone of this law is provided for in the Nigerian constitution.
In Nigeria, there are courts of record and are established by the  constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. Courts of record are established both in the federal level and in the state level.

Courts In Nigeria

Courts in Nigeria include the following, the Supreme Court, and the Court Of Appeal and the Federal High Court, and the High Court Of States, and the High Court Of Federal Capital Territory, and the Sharia Court, and the Customary Court Of Appeal, and the Sharia And Customary Courts Of Appeal, as well as the Magistrate Court.
These courts are independent in their activities, and their purpose is that of interpreting the Nigerian laws,. The courts also protect the rights of Nigerian citizens, they resolved disputes and as well, enforced laws.
The courts checkmate, and act as the bridle for government hence, prevent public or political office holders from engaging in power abuse. Government excesses and liberty infringement are prevented by the Nigerian courts.

The Attorneys

The attorneys remained another aspect that made up the Nigerian legal system. Lawyers are attorneys. They are persons, who have passed through training in the Nigerian laws.
The attorneys represent their clients, while in the lawsuits. The attorney is expected to behave within the ambit of the Nigerian law, in the course of providing services to their clients, irrespective of the severity of such cases brought against their clients in the lawsuit or in a case, where their clients filed against another persons.
In other way, clients are expected to see their attorneys as their confidants. The attorneys however are bound by ethics of the law profession.
The attorneys are expected to keep all the things their clients revealed to them as secret. Once a Nigerian is charged for committing crime, such person has the right to an attorney, as provided by the Nigerian law.
Nevertheless, the effort made by the Nigerian courts in the course of proffering solution to different legal issues in Nigeria is indeed, affected by some evolution, as well as, some changes in the Nigerian legal system.

Laws In Nigeria

Laws of Nigeria are based on some framework that made up the country’s legal system, and this include, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary, as well as, the British common law.
The British common law came into play as a result of the long history of British colonial influence in Nigeria. The common law in the Nigerian legal system is almost similar to the common law systems in operation in England and in Wales and in every Commonwealth nation.
The constitutional framework used in the Nigerian legal system is provided for in the Nigerian Constitution. Some of the laws used in Nigeria are derived from the following sources.

English Law

English law is an aspect of law used in Nigeria, and the reason is obvious. This is because English Law is used in Nigeria as a result of British colonial past. Nigeria was actually colonized by the Britain.

Common Law

Another source of law used in Nigeria is derived from the common law. This is as a result of law development since, when there was colonial independence.

Customary Law

One of the sources of Nigerian law is the customary law. In Nigeria, there are some traditional practices and norms, and so, under customary law, Nigeria derived its law from such indigenous traditional practices and norms.

Sharia Law

The least but not the last source of Nigerian law I will discuss in this article, is the Sharia law. Therefore, Nigeria derived its law from sharia law.  Sharia law is used particularly in almost all the states in the northern part of Nigeria.


From the above submission, one can determine the actual functions of the Nigerian legal system.

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Joseph Athanasius

Joseph Athanasius is a Content Developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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