Federal High Court Nigeria
Federal High Court Nigeria: The Federal Revenue Court (as Federal High Court was then called) was established by the Federal Revenue Act 1973 (1973 No.13). The Court was renamed the “Federal High Court” by Section 228 (1) and 230 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979.
Although the need was noted during the constitutional Conference leading to Independence, to establish a High Court for the determination of causes and matters within the Exclusive Legislative list, as is the customary in countries with the Federal System of Government, no step was however taken in that regard until the promulgation of the Federal Revenue Court Decree in 1973.
The Court as Federal Revenue Court (began with a President as the head of the court was then called) and four judges.
From its inception, controversies over its jurisdiction dogged every step of the Court. However, such controversies were finally settled with the enactment of Section 230(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979.Section 231 of the 1979 Constitution was replicated in the Federal High Court decree (Amendment) 1991(60) which amended Section 7 of the Federal High Court Act (1973); and conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the court in relation to the subject matters covered by section 7 of that Act, as amended.
Section 7 of the Federal High Court (Amendmentment) 1991 has now being re-enacted Civil Causes and Matters as section 251(1) (a) to (s) and of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.its jurisdiction in criminal matters are as provided in Section 251 (2) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and in such criminal matters as the National Assembly may by Act, confers jurisdiction on it. The Federal High Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the High Court of the FCT and State High Court in respect of fundamental Rights matters by virtue of Section 46(1) of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, 1999.
To facilitate the expeditious determination of Civil Causes and Matters before the Court, the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2000 was enacted by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court pursuant to Section 254 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. The new Rules have several innovative provisions which cover all aspects of practice and procedure before the Court and have a (Fundamental objective) for a (just and expeditious disposition of cases) in view.In 2011, a new Admiralty Procedure Rules were made by the Chief Judge in order to aid a more expeditious hearing of maritime claims in which the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction and which claims as with intellectual property rights, trade marks, patents and designs sometimes have international dimension which may involve foreign companies and interests.
The Federal High Court as a premier Court of first instance has recorded impressive growth since its inception in 1973 and has become, unarguably an important pillar amongst the Courts in the Federal Judiciary of Nigeria.From the pioneering Five Judges, the Court now has Six-Nine(69) Judges. The Court has also grown structurally in terms of opening new Divisions in almost all the States of the Federation with Lagos state with two divisions having regard to the volume of cases filed there as the (Commercial Capital) of Nigeria. The Court established Three Judicial Divisions within Two Years of its creation. Now, the Court has thirty-Six Judicial Divisions,spread across in thirty-six States of the country.
The Federal High Court has recorded impressive growth since its inception in 1973. From the pioneering Five Judges, the Court now has Six-two Judges. The Court has also grown structurally. The Court established Three Judicial Divisions within Two Years of its creation. Now, the Court has thirty-Six Judicial Divisions,spread across the country.
The Court has put up its own Building in the following twenty-four Divisions and in 2009, moved to its Headquarters in Abuja.
Federal High Court Nigeria – Division with Buildings
These are the Following Divisions with the court with Building:
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Federal High Court Abuja(Head Quarter)
Federal High Court Abakaliki
Federal High Court Abeokuta
Federal High Court Akure
Federal High Court Benin
Federal High Court Calabar
Federal High Court Enugu
Federal High Court Ibadan
Federal High Court Ilorin
Federal High Court Jos
Federal High Court Kaduna
Federal High Court Kano
Federal High Court Katsina
Federal High Court Lafia
Federal High Court Maiduguri
Federal High Court Minna
Federal High Court Oshogbo
Federal High Court Owerri
Federal High Court Port-Harcourt
Federal High Court Sokoto
Federal High Court Taraba
Federal High Court Uyo
Federal High Court Yola
Jurisdiction of the Federal High Court Nigeria
1. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999
25-(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this constitution and in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly, the Federal High Court shall have and excise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other Court in civil causes and matters.
(a) Relating to the revenue of the Government of the Federation in which the said Government or any organ thereof or a person suing or being sued on behalf of the said Government is a part;
(b) Connected with or pertaining to the taxation of companies and other bodies established or carrying on business in Nigeria and all other persons subject to Federal Taxation.
(c) Connected with or pertaining to customs and excise duties and export duties, including any claim by organist the Nigeria Customs Services or any member or officer thereof, arising from the performance of any duty imposed under any regulation relating to customs and excise duties and export duties.
(d) Connected with or pertaining to banking, banks other financial institutions including any action between one bank and another, any action by or against the Central Bank of Nigeria arising from banking, foreign exchange, coinage, legal tender, bills of exchange, letters of credit, promissory notes and other fiscal measures; Provided that this paragraph shall not apply to any dispute between an individual customer and his bank in respect of transactions between the individual customer and the bank;
(e) Arising from the operation of the Companies and Allied Matters Act or any other enactment replacing that Act or regulating the operation of companies incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
(g) Any admiralty jurisdiction, including shipping and navigation the River Niger Benue and their affluents and on such other inland waterway as may be designated by any enactment to be an international waterway, all Federal Ports, (including constitution and powers of ports authorities for Federal Ports) and carriage by sea;
(h) Diplomatic, consular and trade representation;
(i) Citizenship, naturalization and aliens, deportation of persons who are not citizens of Nigeria, extradition, immigration into and emigration from Nigeria, passports and visas;
(j) Bankruptcy and insolvency
(k) Aviation and safety of aircraft;
(l) Arms, ammunition and explosives;
(m) Drugs and poisons;
(n) Mines and minerals (including Oil fields, Oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas);
(o) Weights and measures;
(p) The administration or the management and control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies;
(q) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the operation and interpretation of this Constitution in so far as it affects the Federal Government or any of its agencies;
(r) Any action or proceeding for a declaration or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision by the Federal Government or any of its agencies; and
(s) Such other jurisdiction civil criminal and whether to the exclusion of any other court or not as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly. Provided that noting in the provisions of paragraphs (p), (q) and (r) of this subsection shall prevent a person from seeking redress against the Federal Government or any of its agencies in an action for damages, injunction or specific performance where the action is based on any enactment, law or equity.
(2) The Federal High Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction and powers in respect of treason, treasonable felony and allied offences.
(3) The Federal High Court shall also have and exercise jurisdiction and powers in respect of criminal causes and matters in respect of which jurisdiction is conferred by subsection (1) of this section.
252 (1) For the purpose of excising any jurisdiction conferred upon it by this Constitution or as may be conferred by an Act of the National Assembly, the Federal High Court shall have all the powers of the High Court of a State.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, the National Assembly may by law make provisions conferring upon the Federal High Court powers additional to those conferred by this section as may appear necessary or desirable for enabling the Court more effective to exercise its jurisdiction.
253. The Federal High Court shall be duty constituted of at least one judge of that Court.
254. Subject to the provision of any Act of the National Assembly, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court may make rules for regulating the practice and procedure of the Federal High Court.
II. Tribunals (Certain Consequential Amendments, etc) Decree No. 62 1999.
The Federal Military Government – Federal High Court Nigeria
Hereby decrees as follows:
1. The enactments specified in the first column of parts I and II of the Scheduled to this Decree are amended to the extent set out in the second column of those parts of that Schedule.
2. (1) The Federal High Court or the High Court of a State, as the case may be, shall have jurisdiction to try the offences created under the enactment specified in the Schedule to this Decree.
(2) Accordingly, a tribunal established in any of the enactments specified in the Schedule to this Decree is hereby dissolved.
(3) A charge, claim or Court Process filed before a Tribunal established under any of the enactments specified in the Schedule to this Decree shall be deemed to have been duly filed or served before the Federal High Court or High Court of a State, as the case may be and such charge, claim and Court process shall deemed amended as to title, venue and such other matter as may be appropriate to give effect to this subsection without further assurance than this Decree.
(4) Any order, remand, decision or judgment made by a Tribunal before the commencement of this Decree is hereby preserved.
(5) A decision or judgment of a Tribunal made before the commencement of this Decree shall be enforced in accordance with the procedure or law relating to the enforcement of a decision or judgment of the Tribunal before the commencement of this Decree.
(6) Where before the commencement of this Decree, a matter has been concluded in a Tribunal way for any reason whatsoever unable to deliver the judgment, the judgment may be delivered by a Judge of the Federal High Court or the High Court of a State, as the case may be;
Provided that the judgment shall have been written.
3-(1) Where any part-heard matter is etc. pending before any Tribunal on the date of the making of this Decree the Judge
(a) May, if the parties to the proceedings agree in a civil cause, adopt the proceedings of the Tribunal concerned;
(b) Shall, in a criminal case, try the matter de novo pursuant to this Decree.
(2) All new proceedings shall be brought before the Court in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Court concerned.
4. All criminal proceedings brought before the Court relating to a matter for which the Court has jurisdiction under this decree shall be tried summarily in accordance with section 33 of the Federal High Court Act and rules of procedure made under that Act or under the equivalent section of the relevant High Court Law of the State concerned and rules of procedure made under the law.
5. A civil or criminal proceeding may be commenced and proceeded within any division of the Federal High Court notwithstanding the place of commission of the offence or a cause of action.
6. All proceeding pursuant to this Decree shall be given accelerated hearings.
7-(1) A person convicted or against whom a judgment is given under this Decree may, within 30 days of the conviction or judgment, appeal of the Court of Appeal.
(2) There shall be a right of appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
8. In this Decree, unless the context otherwise requires:-
“Court means the Federal High Court or the High Court of a State, as the case may be.
“Tribunal” means a Tribunal established under any of the enactments Specified in the schedule to this Decree. This Decree may be cited as the Tribunals (Certain Consequential Amendments, Etc) Decree 1999.