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Nigerian Legal System Book and eBook by Leesi Ebenezer Mitee

Nigerian Legal System Book and eBook By Leesi Ebenezer MiteeThe upcoming Nigerian Legal System book with its companion Nigerian Legal System eBook (e-Book) by Leesi Ebenezer Mitee, Nigerian Lega8l System: A Modern Approach, is based on a modern philosophy and approach to the concept of a legal system. The discussion in this book rightly reflects the breathtaking developments in information and communications technology (ICT) in recent times, which have revolutionized every aspect of human endeavour, including the legal profession. Information on its release will be available on this webpage. If you would want to be informed about its release and availability, please contact Nigerian Law Resources (contact details available on the Nigerian Law Resources Contact webpage).

Introduction to the Nigerian Legal System by Leesi Ebenezer Mitee

Copyright © 2009 Leesi Ebenezer Mitee. Updated 25 April 2011

Nigerian legal system is a relic of the century-old British imperialism that brought about the imposition of alien English legal system on our traditional legal structures and institutions. Our organic norms and values were thus largely displaced. Lagos was created a British colony in 1862. In that same year, a court was established there, and five statutes (called “Ordinances”) were applicable to the colony. The ordinances were:

(1) Customs Duties Ordinance No. 1 of 1862;

(2) Harbour Regulations Ordinance No. 2 of 1862;

(3) Harbour Sanitary Regulations Ordinance No. 3 of 1862;

(4) Currency Ordinance No. 4 of 1862; and

(5) Use of Official Seal Ordinance No. 5 of 1862.

True to their mission, the first five laws enacted for the governance of the Colony of Lagos were solely for economic exploitation of a virgin community. And until today, nearly 140 years afterwards, British colonial legacies are self-evident in Nigeria. In 1863, one year later, English law was established in the Colony of Lagos with 25 Ordinances, chief among which were:

(1) Applying Laws of England to the Settlement Ordinance No. 3 of  1863;

(2) Supreme Court Ordinance No. 11 of 1863;

(3) Petty Debt Court Ordinance No. 12A of 1863; and

(4) Supreme Court Ordinance No. 13 of 1863.

Between 1864 – 1865, the following Ordinances, which related to the legal profession and administration of justice, were made for the Settlement of Lagos:

(1) Supreme Court Ordinance No. 1 of 1864;

(2) Supreme Court Ordinance No. 9 of 1864;

(3) Slave Commission Court Ordinance No. 13 of 1864; and

(4) Supreme Court Ordinance No. 5 of 1865.

Today, that colonial history still wields an abiding, nay, compelling influence on every aspect of our legal system. The independence Nigeria got on 1 October 1960 is yet to be perfected in the legal domain. The situation is humiliating, ridiculous, and retrogressive. For instance, certain obsolete English statutes that were in force on 1 January 1900 (more than 100 years ago) styled “statutes of general application” constitute a source of Nigerian law today! . . . Continue reading


Meaning and Components of a Legal System By Leesi Ebenezer Mitee

Copyright © 2001 Leesi Ebenezer Mitee in Nigerian Legal System: A Fundamental Approach, Volume I, page  25

A legal system may be defined as “the entire organised structure or framework which determines and defines the body of laws, rules and regulations applicable in a particular political entity, and creates the machinery and institutions for the administration, dispensation and enforcement of justice therein”  (Mitee, 2001). From the foregoing definition, it is obvious that legal systems . . . Continue reading




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