Need For Judicial Federalism In Nigeria


We need to reform the court hierarchy by establishing state court of first instance (High Court) and state court of appeal (by whatever name called) with jurisdiction to exclusively adjudicate upon matters of state legislative powers. Except in respect of strict constitutional questions bordering on fundamental rights, no matter within state legislative powers should proceed beyond state appellate court.

The Supreme Court, as the – Court of the Federation – should be conferred jurisdiction to determine federal appellant matters (from the Federal High Court established as a court of first instance to adjudicate only matters concerning federal legislative powers); and upon appeals on fundamental rights coming from the state appellant court (this, in addition to power to adjudicate similar matters coming from the Federal High Court).

The Supreme Court must reserve powers to control its docket. That is, the Supreme Court should at all times possess the prerogative to determine which appeals to hear or not to hear, irrespective of their nature. This is the cross-country experience of most apex courts globally.


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