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General information

The Nigerian Legal System is based generally on the English common law that originated from England by virtue of Nigeria’s colonial history, and also a fusion of already existing indigenous laws such as the customary laws and Islamic laws applicable in the Northern part of Nigeria.

The English law received by Nigeria, forms a vital part of Nigerian law, comprising of the common law, doctrines of equity, statues of general application, statutes and subsidiary legislation.

The Nigerian legal system however, has evolved gradually over a period of time principally out of legislation and from activities, which have taken place in the last one hundred years.

Another source of Nigerian law is judicial precedents i.e. case laws. Case laws are decisions of judges of Superior Courts in time past, set as precedents for other judges to follow where such occasions present themselves in future. This is captured in the Latin maxim “stare decisis et non quieta movere” “stare decisis” for short, meaning “stand by what has been decided and do not unsettle the established.”