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SUPREME COURT ACT
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
Part I – General
|3.||Number of Justices and tenure of office of Justices.||4.||Precedence of Justices.||5.||Salaries and allowances of Justices of the Supreme Court.|
|6.||Officers of Supreme Court.||7.||Seal of Supreme Court.||8.||Process of Supreme Court.|
|9.||Practice and procedure.||10.||Number of Justices of the Supreme Court.||11.||Powers of single Justice of the Supreme Court.|
|12.||Reserved judgments||13.||Trial with assessors.||14.||Costs.|
|15.||Right of audience.||16.||Jurisdiction to hear appeals in certain matters.|
Part II – Original Jurisdiction
|17.||Provisions applying to exercise of original jurisdiction.||18.||Witnesses in causes heard in original jurisdiction.||19.||Power of transfer in certain cases.|
|20.||Proceedings between the Federation and States.|
Part III – Appeals in Civil cases
|21.||Application of Part III.||22.||General power of the Supreme Court.||23.||Wrong ruling as to sufficiency of stamp.|
|24.||Stay of execution.|
Part V – Appeals in Criminal cases from the Court of Appeal
|25.||Application of Part V.||26.||Determination of an appeal.|
Part VI – Procedure
|27.||Time for appealing.||28.||Legal assistance to appellant.||29.||Supplemental powers of court.|
|30.||Right of appellant to be present.||31.||Admission of appellant to bail, and date of sentence.||32.||Procedure with respect to frivolous appeals on questions of law.|
Part VII – Miscellaneous and repeals
SUPREME COURT ACT
An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to the Supreme Court.
COMMENCEMENT [2nd day of June 1960]
“Appellant” includes a person who has been convicted and desires to appeal under the Constitution or under any Act or law;
“Cause” includes any action, suit or other original proceeding between a plaintiff and a defendant;
“Constitution” means the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and any Constitution substituted for it;
“Court below” means the court from which an appeal is brought;
“Judgment” includes decision or order;
“Justice” means the Chief Justice of Nigeria or any other Justice of the Supreme Court and any person lawfully acting as such;
“Magistrate’s court” includes any district or similar court established by State law;
“Matter” includes every proceeding in court not in a cause;
“Registrar” means the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court or any registrar or deputy registrar of that court;
“Rules of court” means rules of court made under or in pursuance of section 216 of the Constitution;
“Sentence” includes a recommendation;
“Suit” includes action;
“Supreme Court” means the Supreme Court of Nigeria established under section 210 of the Constitution;
“Verdict” includes the decision of a Judge or court as to whether or not the accused person is guilty in cases where such decision rests with the Judge or court.
Part I – General
(2) Any person holding the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria or a Justice shall vacate that office when he attains the age of sixty-five years.
(2) The salaries and allowances payable under the provisions of this section shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
(2) The Chief Registrar and other officers appointed under subsection (1) of this section shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be conferred or imposed upon them by any Act or rules of court, and subject thereto, by any directions of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
(2) Any judgment of the Supreme Court shall have full force and effect in the Federation and shall be enforceable by all courts and authorities in any part of the Federation in like manner as if it were a judgment of the High Court of that part of the Federation.
(a) in criminal causes or matters, if any Justice refuses an application for the exercise of any such power, the person making the application shall be entitled to have his application determined by the Supreme Court; and
(b) in civil causes or matters, any order, direction or decision made or given in pursuance of the powers conferred by this section may be varied, discharged or reversed by the Supreme Court.
(2) The remuneration, if any, to be paid to such assessors shall be determined by the Court.
(2) A person entitled to practise in the Supreme Court immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be entitled to practise as a legal practitioner in the Supreme Court unless he is suspended or prohibited from so practising by or under the provisions of any enactment or rules of court.
(2) In this section-
“Decision” has the meaning assigned to it in section 277 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
“State matters” means a matter other than a matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List or the Concurrent Legislative List.
Part II – Original jurisdiction
(a) subject to the express provisions of any enactment, law and equity shall be administered concurrently;
(b) in every cause or matter pending before it the Supreme court shall grant, either absolutely or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just, all such remedies whatsoever as any of the parties thereto may appear to be entitled to in respect of any legal or equitable claim properly brought forward by them in the cause or matter, so that, as far as possible, all matters in controversy between the parties may be completely and finally determined, and all multiplicity of legal proceedings concerning any of those matters avoided;
(c) subject to the express provisions of any enactment, in all matters in which there was formerly or is any conflict or variance between the rules of equity and the rules of the common law with reference to the same matter, the rules of equity shall prevail;
(d) in addition to any other powers conferred upon the Supreme Court by any enactment, the Supreme Court shall, have and may exercise all powers and authorities which are vested in or capable of being exercised by it under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
(e) the Supreme Court shall observe and enforce the observance of customary law to the same extent as such law is observed and enforced in the Nigerian Courts.
(2) Any person present in court during the hearing of any such cause may, if the Court thinks fit, be ordered to give evidence or to produce documents.
(3) A Justice of the Supreme Court, if it appears to him that the attendance of any person confined in any part of the Federation as a prisoner under any sentence or order or commitment for trial or otherwise, or under civil process, is necessary for the purpose of obtaining evidence in any such cause as aforesaid pending or to be inquired of in the court, may issue a warrant for bringing up the said person before the court and the superintendent of the prison or other officer in whose custody the person is shall forthwith obey such warrant.
(2) The Supreme Court may order any cause or matter which is before it to be transferred to a High Court or magistrate’s court having ordinary jurisdiction in the place where the cause of action arose and power to grant the relief sought, for hearing and determining, or to be otherwise disposed of by such court.
(3) Where an Order of Transfer is made under subsection (2) of this section the court to which the cause or matter is transferred shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine it, to the extent set out in the Order of Transfer, as if it were a cause or matter within the ordinary jurisdiction of that court.
(4) A transfer under subsection (2) of this section may be ordered at any time and at any stage of the proceedings in a cause or matter before final judgment, and either with or without application in that behalf by any of the parties thereto, and may apply to any cause or matter in its entirety or in respect of any part thereof or procedure required to be taken therein.
(a) in the case of the Federation be brought in the name of the Attorney-General of the Federation;
(b) in the case of a State be brought in the name of the Attorney-General of the State.
Part III – Appeals in Civil cases
(2) Where in the exercise by the Court of Appeal of its jurisdiction an interlocutory order or decision is made in the course of any suit or matter an appeal shall, by leave of that court or of the Supreme Court, as the case may be, lie to the Supreme Court; but no appeal shall lie from any order made ex parte, or by consent of the parties, or relating only to costs.
(3) Nothing in subsection (2) of this section shall be construed so as to authorise an application to the Supreme Court in the first instance for leave to appeal from an interlocutory order or decision made in the course of any suit or matter brought in the Court of Appeal.
Part V – Appeals in criminal cases from the court of appeal
Part VI – Procedure
(2) The periods prescribed for the giving of notice of appeal or notice of application for leave to appeal are-
(a) in an appeal in a civil case, fourteen days in an appeal against an interlocutory decision and three months in an appeal against a final decision;
(b) in an appeal in a criminal case, thirty days from the date of the decision appealed against.
(3) Where an application for leave to appeal is made in the first instance to the court below, a person making such application shall, in addition to the period prescribed by subsection (2) of this section, be allowed a further period of fifteen days, from the date of the hearing of the application by the court below, to make an application to the Supreme Court.
(4) The Supreme Court may extend the periods prescribed in subsection (2) of this section.
(a) ordering the production of any document, exhibit, or other thing connected with the proceedings, the production of which appears to it necessary for the determination of the case; and
(b) order any witnesses who would have been compellable witnesses at the trial to attend and be examined before the Court, whether they were or were not called at the trial, or order the examination of any such witnesses to be conducted in manner provided by rules of court, or, in the absence of rules of court making provision on that behalf, as it may direct, before any judge of the Court or before any officer of the Court or other person appointed by the Court for the purpose, and allow the admission of any depositions so taken as evidence before the Court; and
(c) receive the evidence, if tendered, of any witness (including the appellant) who is a competent but not compellable witness and, if the appellant makes an application for the purpose, of the husband or wife of the appellant, in cases where the evidence of the husband or wife could not have been given at the trial except on such an application; and
(d) where any question arising on the appeal involves prolonged examination of documents or accounts, or any scientific or local investigation, which cannot in the opinion of the Court conveniently be conducted before the Court, order the reference of the question in manner provided by rules of court, or, in the absence of rules of court making provision in that behalf, as it may direct, for enquiry and report of any such commissioner appointed by the Court, and act upon the report of any such commissioner so far as it thinks fit to adopt it; and exercise in relation to the proceedings of the Court any other powers which may for the time being be prescribed by rules of court and issue any warrants necessary for enforcing the orders or sentence of the Court:
Provided that in no case shall any sentence be increased by reason of or in consideration of any evidence that was not given at the trial.
(2) The power of the Supreme Court to pass any sentence under this Act may be exercised notwithstanding that the appellant is for any reason not present.
(3) The right of an appellant who is in custody to be present at the hearing of his appeal shall be subject to his paying all expenses of and incidental to his transfer to and from the place where the Supreme Court sits for the determination of his appeal:
Provided that the Court may direct that he be brought before the Court in any case where, in the opinion of the Court, his presence is advisable for the due determination of the appeal, in which event such expenses as aforesaid shall be defrayed out of Consolidated Revenue Fund.
(4) An appellant who does not appear at the hearing of his appeal or application for leave to appeal by counsel may present his appeal and argument in writing, and any appeal or argument so presented shall be considered by the Supreme Court.
(2) The time during which an appellant, pending the determination of his appeal, is admitted to bail shall not count as part of any term of imprisonment under his sentence and, any imprisonment under the sentence of an appellant, whether it is the sentence passed by the court of trial or the sentence passed by the Court of Appeal or the sentence of the Supreme Court, shall, subject to any directions which may be given by the Court, be deemed to be resumed or to begin to run, as the case requires, from the day on which he is received into prison under the sentence.
(3) In any case in which the appellant has received special treatment pending the hearing of his appeal in accordance with the provisions of any law relating to prisons, the Supreme Court shall fix the day from which the sentence shall be deemed to begin to run.
Part VII – Miscellaneous and repeals