Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Justice System Reforms - Out-dated Laws since Colonial Times Reviewed.

Problem: A number of laws and procedures were out-dated, having not been reviewed since colonial times. The judiciary also had a reputation for interminable delays and was alleged by some to be corrupt.

Reform Actions
Submission of a draft bill to the National Assembly to remove frivolous injunctions, interlocutory motions, adjournments and abuse of court process
- Enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 2011
- Enactment of a new Evidence Act in 2011
- Enactment of the Legal Aid Council Act, 2011
- Enactment of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011
- Establishment of Federal Justice Sector Reform Committee
- Strenuous efforts to tackle judicial corruption.

Main Achievements: The independence and reputation of the Supreme Court has remained intact. The enactment of the New Evidence Act, 2011, which admits computer- generated evidence, has helped the fight against corruption. There has been increased scrutiny on the behaviour of judges and on cases of possible misconduct by judges. The reform has broadened the scope of state-funded legal aid regime, while empowering non-state legal service providers. Furthermore, the Freedom of Information Act has raised the bar on the level of transparency and accountability in the system.

Key Challenges: (a) chronic delays in the trial of cases, (b) growing number of inmates awaiting trial, (c) absence of clear and consistent sentencing guidelines, occasionally leading to loss of public confidence, (d) existence of unnecessary bureaucracy and red- tape, and (e) ineffective deterrence mechanism against corruption. 

Reference:  Public Service Reforms in Nigeria (1999-2014) - A Comprehensive Review

Click to view Compendium 

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