Thirty six States and a Federal Capital Territory, Abuja make up the Nigerian Federation. Each of those States is empowered to establish, maintain and develop judicial institutions, processes and human capabilities necessary to assure a system of law and order within their respective domains. Kano State is one of them.
The State’s Judicature is made up:
- of the judges, lawyers, non-judge staff of judicial centers;
- Lawyers, the local chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, paralegal and support staff of law firms in the State that work its judicial centers;
- Appellate bodies, like the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Court of Appeal which have obligatory jurisdiction, at statutorily defined stages over the tribunals that operate in the State.
- judicial research or regulatory institutions applicable to the state;
- the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, local, customary and international laws applicable in the State as well as Court precedents, internal Court rules and procedures that bind its judiciary;
- quasi-judicial bodies and panels which activities are reviewed by the judiciary;
- Alternative Dispute Resolution centers in the State;
- Support and regulatory institutions in the State;
- Law libraries, police, prison services and other;
- other arms and department of government which existence are critical to the funding, maintenance and appointment into the State’s judicial and related centers; and
- the people and stakeholders of the State for whom the State’s judiciary and other dispute resolution processes and facilities of the State exist.
THE STATE JUDICIARY
The Judiciary of the State is a very key component of the its judicature. It is made up of judges, non-judge members of staff of the State judicial service, courts/tribunals and other judicial facilities, records and subsisting judgments obtained within the jurisdiction of the State court system which its courts are obligated to defend and enforce.
The Judiciary exist, chiefly, to interpret, apply and direct the enforcement of the laws, customs, and conventions that make up the State’ legal system. It’s sphere also extends to the protection or preservation of contracts, rights and freedoms that define the socio-political and economic space of the State.
It also helps to preserve and protect the rights and freedoms of individuals and corporate bodies in the State from the over-bearing reach of State officialdom or from other non-state entities – including multinational and local organizations that operate in the State.
Its reach even extends to the review of decisions of disciplinary panels of various professional and corporate organizations in the State.
Courts or tribunals found in the State could be broadly classified as national, state courts. Federal courts have jurisdiction over certain federal matters or objects in any corner of Nigeria. These include the Federal High Court; National Industrial Court; Code of Conduct Tribunal, Investment and Securities Tribunal, etc. These courts are either situated within the State or at a regional headquarter where the State is classified.
However, the class of courts with the greater presence and degree of interaction with local residents are State courts. These include the State High Court; Magistrate Courts; Customary Court of Appeal and Customary/Native Courts, etc.
In recent times, alternative dispute resolution practices are becoming integrated into the judicial processes of Nigeria. Thus, not only are arbitral and mediated agreements being given the imprimateur of the Courts for enforcement, they are also being statutorily welded into State courts – as multi-door Courts.
HIERARCHY OF COURTS
The Supreme Court sits as the final appellate judicial authority over all the judicial and quasi-judicial processes in the State, followed by the Court of Appeal.
The State High Court, Customary Court of Appeal and the Sharia Court of Appeal are the highest ranking tribunals under the direct control of the State government. They also have co-ordinate jurisdiction–equal and independent standing- among themselves but are restricted to matters objects statutorily assigned to them. Nonetheless, in spite of that, the Chief Justice of the State High State is regarded as the head of its judiciary.
The Federal High Court of the in the State and other federal tribunals of co-ordinate jurisdiction, like the National Industrial Court, Electoral Tribunals, Code of Conduct Bureau and special tribunals like the Disciplinary Body of various Professional bodies also have equal but independent standing with the top state tribunals even though their jurisdictions are different. They operate within the State but are not under the control of the State government as their operational dependency resides in the federal government – or for the disciplinary tribunals, on the control and funding of the mechanism designated for them – usually by statute. Each of them cannot review a decision of the other and appeal lie from them straight to the Court of Appeal.
The customary courts and the Sharia Courts bring up the lower rung of the judiciary of the State