2023 Elections: Judicial Council issues Policy directions to Courts

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The National Judicial Council (NJC) in Nigeria has issued Policy Directions on Political and Election-Related Cases to the Head of Courts in the country.

This is part of concerted efforts to reduce to the barest minimum incidences of issuance of conflicting orders and judgments capable of disrupting the ongoing electioneering process.

A statement by the NJC Director of Information Mr Soji Oye, in Abuja, indicated that the policy direction was formulated at its 98th meeting under the Chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko. Muhammad.

Under the new direction, Heads of Courts are to henceforth be held responsible for loopholes in their areas of jurisdiction.

Policy Directions

“Pursuant to the powers vested in the National Judicial Council by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Schedule III, Part I, 21 (i), a new policy direction is hereby issued.

“These Policy Directions shall apply to all suits filed in any court in Nigeria wherein the parties include Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), any political party or its officers, any other person, natural or legal, suing or sued for a declaration in relation to any action taken or to compel or restrain any action or omission with respect to the affairs of a political party or any election into a public office.

“These Directions seek to: prevent the multiplicity of litigations at different courts of coordinate jurisdiction across the nation, resulting in conflicting orders on the same issues and facts;

“Recognize that courts need to embrace prudential limitations on their powers with a view to curtailing the incidences of unscrupulous forum shopping disrupting the administration of justice and the democratic process; and acknowledge that the circumstances necessitate further administrative measures and procedures to complement and support the judicial process.

All suits to which these Policy Directions apply shall be filed, received, or entertained only at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in so far as the relief sought, or potential consequential order (s) or declaration (s) may restrain or compel persons or actions beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any one State;

“Where such suits are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, they shall be filed or received at Abuja and assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court;

“All such suits wherein the cause of action arose in a State and the relief seeks a declaration or to compel or restrain person (s), natural or legal, within that State’s territory, with no consequence outside the State, shall be filed, received, or heard only in that State;

“All Heads of Court shall assign cases or constitute panels with a view to forestalling the incidences of conflicting judgements and rulings;

“Once facts or issues have been ruled upon, no other Court or Panel of Coordinate Jurisdiction shall be assigned or entertain Suits on the same subject matter and parties shall comply or proceed on appeal to the appropriate higher Court;

“These directions shall take effect from 11 May 2022.

The statement disclosed that Cross Jurisdiction Litigation Panel (CJLP) shall be constituted to give directions on appropriate litigation for cross-jurisdiction litigations:

It further revealed that the Council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee and recommended 49 successful candidates for appointment as Heads of Courts and other Judicial Officers in Nigeria.

 

 

 

PIAK

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