Judicial Independence in Nigeria: Between Global Trends, Domestic Realities and Islamic Law

  • Ibrahim Sule Department of Civil Litigation, Nigerian Law School, Kano Campus
Keywords: judiciary, independence, rule of law, judicial independence


Judicial independence or independence of the judiciary has its origin in the theory of separation of powers. By this theory the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary are three separate, distinct and independent branches of government; each arm is independent of the other arm in all it gets and does. As for the judiciary, the theory means both the judiciary as an institution and all individual judges presiding over cases and other personnel must be able to carry out their professional responsibilities free from any influence or interference by the Executive or Legislature or any other person or institution outside or within the judiciary. Undoubtedly, it is only an independent judiciary that can competently provide the necessary checks on the excesses of other arms of government particularly on breaches of rights and freedoms of the citizenry. This article establishes that the independence of the judiciary is an indispensable ingredient of good governance. All the international human rights conventions, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and other regional human rights instruments recognize the notion of independence of the judiciary in their provisions by guaranteeing the right to a fair hearing in civil and criminal proceedings before an independent and impartial court or tribunal. It also analyses judicial independence in Nigeria in line with some global trends and discovered ironically that even though the Nigerian Constitution guarantees one’s rights to have one’s cause heard by an independent and impartial judge, it does not guarantee institutional independence of the Nigerian judiciary at all. And this could have been the reason why the fortunes of the Nigerian judiciary are day by day dwindling as it is compelled by a lack of constitutional guarantees to always beg either the executive or the legislature for one financial favor or another. The article also analyses some of the causes of the persistent crisis in the Nigerian judiciary and also highlighted some lessons to be learnt from judicial independence under Islamic law


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Author Biography

Ibrahim Sule, Department of Civil Litigation, Nigerian Law School, Kano Campus

A Lecturer at Nigerian Law School, Kano Campus, Fellow of International Bar Association and holds LL.M (University of Birmingham): Five International Practice Diplomas from The University of Law, London, UK.


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How to Cite
Sule, I. (2022). Judicial Independence in Nigeria: Between Global Trends, Domestic Realities and Islamic Law. GPH-International Journal of Social Science and Humanities Research, 5(05), 18-33. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6777825