Law and Practice in Nigeria: The Need to Inculcate ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’ in Nigerian Law Studies By Hameed Ajibola Jimoh
In the practice of the law, the roles played by the judiciary cannot be underestimated. Also, it has been observed by the writer of this paper that there are lots of things that either affect or control the reasoning of the judiciary- in this case, the judges who sit to perform judicial roles such as settlement of disputes between persons or persons and government or different levels of governments, hence, the writing of this paper to give support and or credence to the proposition of ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’.
In Nigerian Legal Method and the Nigerian Legal System, there are sources upon which laws have been made to exist jurisprudentially, these systems and methodologies though, were transplanted from the United Kingdom/England-here in after referred to as UK and the United State of America-herein after referred to as USA-, it remains the truth of the facts that Nigeria as of the moment, cannot use her present laws and practice as though it would have been effective when compared with the UK and USA.
In Nigeria, there are lots of set-backs which are enough to affect the reasoning of our judiciary. For instance, our judges have to write in long hands, the situation which can affect the manner with which the judges spend their times on a case, except that the case will have to be extra-meritorious. Also, the facilities in our Nigerian courts are not enough to make judicial functions easily performed. One can imagine a court room without air conditions or sufficient fans to ventilate the atmosphere or gadget to make voices either by the judge or the lawyers or the litigants audible in courts or recorder to instantly record proceedings in courts or well furnished sitting furniture to make sitting for judges more comfortable. All these might be sufficient to annoy a judge to consider a case before him as undeserving and awarding costs against the Plaintiff or Applicant. Emoluments for the judiciary are another shortfall.
Having considered the above set-backs, the writer of this paper suggests that the Nigerian law school should inculcate either a topic or sub-topic in one of its courses of study titled ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’. Though, this suggestion might look so simple and unimportant, however, the writer of this paper hopes that there will be a time when this proposition will be a reality. The writer of this paper is convinced that his proposition will one day be a reality also considering the facts that even those doctrines or principles or propositions of Plato, Aristotle, Soctrates, among other philosophers of laws and humanities did not just manifest the day they were propounded rather, it took much determination, conviction, among others to be actualized. Therefore, our young lawyers need to understand this proposition and the need to understand and study it both in academics and practice, especially that there are some of those law school students who are called to bar and enrolled after they have studied abroad, e.g. in UK and USA, so that there will not be any misunderstanding in the way and manner Nigerian judicial system and methods are in practice.
Furthermore, the various causes of actions that necessitate institution of cases in Nigerian courts defer from those that are instituted in courts of UK and USA. So, there are possibilities of missing the links if one continues to compare the situations in Nigeria with situations in UK and USA or any other country. Therefore, every country is with its own system or judicial reasoning method.
Also, the practice and procedures of Nigerian Courts are now different from the previous practice and procedures. For instance, the Court of Appeal Rules, 2016, has restricted the number of pages to be filed as brief of argument to the maximum number of thirty-five (35) for Appellant and Respondent’s Brief of Arguments. See: Order 19 Rule 6(a) of the Rules and a Reply Brief must not exceed fifteen (15) pages.
Furthermore, lawyers who give legal opinions to their clients too should understand and or put into consideration, ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’ of our Nigerian courts as they give their legal opinions to their clients so that their clients do not run into costs and or sanctions by the courts. More so, in civil proceedings, various academic books have encouraged that there are some preliminary issues that should be considered before commencing suits in civil courts. Nevertheless, it is observed by the writer of this paper that consideration of ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’ is exempted. It is suggested here in this paper that the ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’ should be included among those preliminary considerations. More so, some lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, have been sanctioned as a result of the suits they file and or instituted on behalf of their clients, especially by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the situation which is really pathetic.
Also, it is believed that the reader of this paper would send his comments, views and opinions about the propositions made in this paper by the writer of this paper, so as to jointly deliberate on the need for a ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’ in the Nigerian Law Studies and Practice. The e-mail of the writer of this paper is as contained at the bottom page of this paper. This is necessitated by the need to share from other colleagues’ experiences, more so that the position being made by the writer of this paper will have more acceptability and credence if joint views are made to decide the relevance of the proposition.
Finally, it is believed that the Nigerian Law School authority would consider the need to inculcate a topic or a sub-topic titled as ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’ into the Nigerian Law School’s curriculum and syllabus, so that students undergoing their law training programme would have understood the judicial reasoning of our judges and of course, our Nigerian courts which will in the end, enhance the success of legal practice. Also, the Nigerian Universities may also consider the need to inculcate the ‘Judicial Reasoning Method’ as worthwhile for study in our Nigerian Universities. The National Universities Commission, the Council of Legal Education as well as the relevant regulatory bodies in the legal profession are also called upon to facilitate the success of this proposition, so that there will be a thorough participation of all stakeholders in the legal profession.