It is known that the third tier (arm) of government is the Judiciary. It is bestowed with the responsibility to apply the laws to specific cases and to settle all disputes as well. The dinkum ‘meaning of law’ is what the judges decide during the course of giving their judgments in various cases brought before them in court. So In the legal system, what are the main functions of judiciary In Nigeria? – From the layman viewpoint, among the three tiers of government, the Judiciary is the most important arm because it acts as their protector against the possible excesses of legislative and executive organs. In addition, the role which the Judiciary plays includes the guardian-protector of the constitution and the fundamental rights of the people making it more respectable than the other two organs. The judiciary arm of government is more respectable than the other two arms (the executive and legislative) because the Judiciary protects the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, and also, the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens. The function of the judiciary cannot be belittled and undermined. What is Nigeria judiciary system and the role played? The judiciary, as a system of court, it provides measures used for the resolution of disputes, and as well gives Justice.
Functions Of Judiciary In Nigeria
After knowing what the judiciary arm of government entails. The judiciary arm of government plays a vital role in the Nigerian government giving hope to the common man (Nigerian citizen) in society. The function of the judiciary in Nigeria include:
- The Judiciary Gives Justice To The People
One of the core function of the judiciary is to give Justice to the people (especially common man), whenever the people seek its intervention. Vitally, the judiciary will always meteor award punishment to those who rightly deserve it after found guilty to have violated the laws of the state or infringed on the rights of the members of the public during the period of trials in court. Thus, the judiciary serves as a last resort to a common man, members of the public who are offended and can always go to the courts and seek redress or possibly be compensated. Situations like this arise, however, when there is a phobia of someone trying to harm them or tamper with their rights or in the other situation when they have considered themselves suffering any loss caused by someone or an organization. The Judiciary then functions to ensure that justice is giving to the members of the public who deserve it. Justice involves awarding punishment with respect to the type of crime committed. The quantity and quality of punishment for those who violate the law are determined by the judiciary, and they decide cases that have to do with granting of compensations (bails) to the members of the public.
- Judiciary Interprets and Applies Laws
Interpretation and application of the law in all cases is another vital function of the judiciary. It is known that the judiciary disputes and decides on cases arraigned before it. When this course is carried out, it can be said that the judges have interpreted and applied the law. The judiciary important function is to interpret the law, therefore, all laws at its disposal deserve to be properly interpreted and appropriately applied to all cases. The judges perform this aspect of the judiciary function, thus, the law means what the judges interpret it to mean.
- Equity Legislation
The judiciary functions here when a law is silent or ambiguous or appears to be inconsistent with some other law of the land, the judges depend upon their sense of justice, fairness, impartiality, honesty, and wisdom for deciding the cases. Such decisions always involve law-making. It is usually termed as equity legislation.
- Role in Law-making
The judiciary also plays a role in the course of law-making. The decisions that the courts give really determine the meaning, nature, and scope of the laws passed by the legislature (the second arm of government). The interpretation given to laws by the judiciary amounts to law-making because these interpretations that really define the laws.
However, the lower courts are blinded by ‘the judgments delivered by the higher courts, which are the Courts of Records. The lower courts can decide the cases before them on the basis of the decisions made by the higher courts. In addition, decisions made by the judiciary constitute a source of law.
- Guardian of the Constitution
The judiciary acts as the guardian and protectors of the Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and as such, it is the responsibility of the judiciary to interpret and protect it. For this reason, the judiciary can carry out or conduct a judicial review over any law for determining as to whether or not it is in agreement and conformity with the letter and spirit of the constitution. Peradventure any law is found unconstitutional, it is rejected and not accepted by the judiciary and therefore becomes invalid for future. This attribute of the court is referred to as the power of judicial review.
- Protection of Rights
It is a known common thing in this era. The judiciary has been bestowed with the supreme responsibility to safeguard and protect the rights of the people. A citizen has the right to seek the protection of the judiciary in case his rights are infringed on or are violated or threatened to be violated by fellow citizens, private organization or the government. It becomes the responsibility of the judiciary to protect his rights of the people in all such cases mentioned.
- Advisory Functions:
The judiciary is known to be learned and experts in the law and as such they are often consulted by individual or institution for advice on very important issues so as to make meaningful decisions. Most times, the courts are given the duty and responsibility to give advisory opinions to the rulers on any legal matter.
- Judiciary has the Power to get its Decisions and Judgements enforced
The power of the judiciary is not only to deliver judgments and decide disputes but also to get these enforced (put to action). The judiciary has the power to direct the executive to carry out its decisions. It can also summon any person and directly learn the truth from him.
In case any person is held:
- Guilty of not abiding any decision of the court, or
- Of acting contrary to the direction of the court, or
- Misleading or deceiving the court, or
- Of not coming or appearing before the court in a case being heard by it, the Court has the power to accord punish the person for the contempt of court.
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Conclusion On Main Functions Of Judiciary In Nigeria
The judiciary is an independent department of the government. It operates independently from both the legislature and the executive arm. The judiciary is a separate and independent organ which has its own organization and officials. Also, it is bestowed with the power to decide the nature of judicial organization in the state. It frames and formulated as well as enforces its own rules. All these functions portray the important role the Judiciary plays in each state.
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