The National Judicial Council is one of the Federal Executive Bodies created by virtue of Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In order to insulate the Judiciary from the whims and caprices of the Executive; hence guarantee the independence of this Arm of Government, which is a sine qua non for any democratic Government, the National Judicial Council was created and vested with enormous powers and functions of the erstwhile Advisory Judicial Committee (AJC) which it replaced.
- An entrenched and preserved independent Judiciary
- A judiciary that is committed to the rule of law
- A financially autonomous Judiciary
- A pro-active and vibrant Judiciary that has Judicial Officers and staff with proven integrity and impeccable character
- A dynamic Judiciary manned by Officers with various background, discipline, experience and competence
- A Judiciary that is Information Technology driven.
POWERS OF THE NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL
By the provision of Paragraph 21 of Part One of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended; The National Judicial Council shall have the power to:
- recommend to the President from among the list of persons submitted to it by - the Federal Judicial Service Commission, persons for appointment to the Offices of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Justices of the Supreme Court, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge and Judges of the Federal High Court, and the Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; persons for appointment to the Offices of the Chief Judge and Judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Grand Kadi and Kadis of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the President and Judges of the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
- recommend to the President the removal from Office of the Judicial Officers specified in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph, and to exercise disciplinary control over such Officers;
- recommend to the Governors from among the list of persons submitted to it by the State Judicial Service Commission persons for appointment to the Offices of the Chief Judges of the States and Judges of the High Courts of the States, the Grand Kadis and Kadis of the Sharia Courts of Appeal of the States; and President and Judges of the Customary Courts of Appeal of the States;
- recommend to the Governors the removal from office of the Judicial Officers specified in sub-paragraph (c) of this paragraph, and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers;
- collect, control and disburse all moniess, Capital and Recurrent, for the Judiciary;
- advise the President and Governors in any matter pertaining to the judiciary as may be referred to the Council by the President or the Governors;
- appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over Members and Staff of the Council;
- control and disburse all monies, Capital and Recurrent, for the services of the Council; and
- deal with all other matters relating to broad issues of policy and administration.
- The Secretary of the Council shall be appointed by the National Judicial Council on the recommendation of the Federal Judicial Service Commission and shall be a Legal Practitioner.”
Pursuant to its Constitutional powers in Section 158 & Paragraph 21 Sub-paragraph (i) of Part One of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, the Council has the following functions and responsibilities:
- Screening/Interview of Candidates/Judges/Justices for Judicial Appointments
The Council screens/interviews all candidates/Judges/Justices for appointment to all Superior Courts of Record (Customary Court of Appeal, Sharia Court of Appeal, High Court of Justice, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Federal High Court, Court of Appeal & the Supreme Court), in the Federation. “Screening and interview of all candidates nominated for Judicial appointments to Superior Courts of Record in the Federation is a new guideline to allow for competition among candidates and transparency in the selection mechanism for Judicial appointments”.
- Performance Evaluation Of Judicial Officers Of Superior Courts Of Record In The Federation
The Judges’ Performance Evaluation Committee of the National Judicial Council assesses and evaluates the performances of all Judicial Officers in the Federation based on their quarterly Returns of cases to the Council. “The Report of the Performance Evaluation of Judicial Officers in Superior Courts of Records in the Federation is used as a yardstick and mechanism to discipline Judges and to determine the actual needs of Courts vis-a-vis appointment of Judges and for budget consideration. The report is also considered by Council when Judicial Officers from Customary Court of Appeal, Sharia Court of Appeal, High Court of Justice, National Industrial Court and Federal High Court are being recommended for appointment to the Court of Appeal and also from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.”
The Council prepares the Capital and Recurrent budget for the Federal Judiciary; and also the Recurrent budget for the State Judicial Offices (High Court of Justice, Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary Court of Appeal), in respect of their Consolidated Salaries, Allowances and Overhead cost.
- Pensions Of Retired Federal Judicial Officers
The National Judicial Council is responsible for payment of gratuities and pensions of all retired Federal Judicial Officers vide the Federal Judicial Officers (Administration of Pension) Act 2007.
- Due Process on Public Procurements and Contracts
The Due Process Committee of the National Judicial Council ensures that all Contracts and procurements above a certain threshold in the Federal Judiciary are vetted in compliance with the Procurement Act.
- Federal Judiciary Tenders Board
The Board awards Contracts that are above the thresholds of Courts and Judicial Bodies in the Federal Judiciary (Procurement Act).
- Budget Monitoring, Projects & Contracts Evaluation
In line with government policy, as it is done in the other Arms of Government, the Council monitors projects execution and evaluates all contracts awarded in the Federal Judiciary.