The Right to a Fair Hearing and Legal Representation of the Indigents: A Case Study of Legal Aid Scheme in Kano State, Nigeria

ABSTRACT The idea of legal aid in Nigeria was first conceived in 1961 with a Bill to establish the Legal Aid Act, which did not materialize as a result of the civil war. Legal Aid Association was formed by some lawyers with the purpose of providing legal aid to the poor, culminating in to the promulgation of the Legal Aid Decree no. 56 of 1976, which metamorphose in to the present Legal Aid Act 2011.In order to assess the state of legal aid scheme in Kano State with a view to ascertaining the right to fair hearing of the indigents given legal representation is safeguarded, the study analyses the provisions of the Legal Aid Act and that of the 1999 Constitution as amended in 2011 relating to fair hearing and also the constitutional safe guards to fair hearing. The doctrinal methodology was adopted to review both primary and secondary sources of information relating to the study. The study found that both rights to fair hearing and legal representation are constitutionally enshrined. The right to legal representation is limited to offences under the Penal Code Law as specified under the second schedule of the Legal Aid Act and therefore the two rights are not all encompassing, since legal representation does not cover all offences The amendment of the Constitution and the Legal Aid Act was recommended. 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

DECLARATION.................................................................................................................................. i

DEDICATION.................................................................................................................................... ii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT................................................................................................................... iii

LIST OF STATUTES…………………………………………………………………………………………………………... iv

LIST OF CASES ................................................................................................................................. v

LIST OF ACCRONYMS……………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………xi

TABLE OF CONTENTS………………………………………………..………..……………………………………………………xii

ABSTRACT………………………………………………….……………………………………………………………………………xvi

CHAPTER ONE…………………………………………………………………………….…...1

1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................ 1

1.1 Background to the study.......................................................................................................... 1

1.2 Statement of problem............................................................................................................ 11

1.3 Objectives of the study……………….…………………………………………………………………………………….12

1.4 Research questions................................................................................................................ 12

1.5 Scope of the study.................................................................................................................. 12

1.6 Significance of the study........................................................................................................ 12

1.7 Methodology.......................................................................................................................... 13

1.8 Literature Review………………………………………………………………….…………………………………......14

1.9 Organizational lay out............................................................................................................ 20

CHAPTER TWO…………………………………………..………..……………………….....21

AN EXAMINATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF LEGAL AID ACT CAP L9, LAWS OF 

THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2011

2.1 Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………...…21

2.2 The Legal Aid Act Cap L9 LFN, 2011 ……………………………………..………..........21

2.2.1 Establishment of the Legal Aid Council…………………………………………..…….22

2.2.2 Legal Aid Advice ………………………………………………...…………………..…...23

2.2.3 Legal aid and access to justice fund ………………………………………………..…...25

2.2.4. Panels of legal Practitioners representing indigents ………………………………..…26

2.2.5. Treatment of information received from indigent persons……………….…………...27

2.2.6 Penalty for false information…………………………………….…...……………...…..28

2.2.7 Power to make regulations…………………………………….…………………………28

2.3 Critic of provisions of the Legal Aid Act …………………………………………………29

2.3.1. Community legal service…………………………………………..……………….……29

2.3.2. Merit and Indigent test …………………………………………………………………29

2.3.3 Legal aid to persons with income above national minimum wage……………..….......30

2.3.4 Ascertainment of means………………………….………………………………...…….30

2.3.5 Determination of remuneration…………………………………………………….……31

2.3.6 Sources of fund…………………………………………...……………………..……..….32

2.3.7 Enjoyment of privilege……………………...….…………..…...…………………..……33

CHAPTER THREE……………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………35

THE PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE AND FAIR HEARING ……………………….…………………………35

3.1 The principle of natural justice……………………………………..……………………………………35

3.2 The principle of impartiality……………………………………………………………………………………………41

3.2.1 Fair hearing under the Nigerian constitution…………………………………………………………….…43

3.2.2 Prior acquaintance with subject matter………………………………………………………………….……45

3.2.3 Litigant cannot sit over opponent's case………………………………………………………………………47

3.2.4 Potential litigant cannot sit over would be opponent's case ……………………………………….48

3.2.5 Descending in to the arena………………………………………………………………………………………….48

3.3 The principle of fairness…………………………………………………………………………………………………50

3.3.1 Hasty judgement…………………………………………………………………………………………………………50

3.3.2 Public hearing…………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………51

3.3.3 Final address……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….53

3.3.4 Applications pending before a court and their priority………………………………………………..56

3.3.5 Service of process……………………………………………………………………………………………………….58

3.3.6 Evidence…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…60

3.3.7 Prejudging the substantive suit at interlocutory stage..…………………………………………….…62

CHAPTER FOUR……………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………….64

SAFE GUARDS TO FAIR HEARING

4.1 Presumption of innocence……………………………………………………..………………………………………64

4.2 Information as to nature of offence……………………………………………………………………………….69

4.3 Provision of adequate time and facilities to prepare defence………………………..……………….72

4.4 Legal representation………………………………………………………………………………………………………76

4.5 Examination of witnesses called by the prosecution…………………………………..………………….80

4.6 Right to an interpreter……………………………………………………………………………………………………85

CHAPTER FIVE………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………92

CONCLUSION…..………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………92

5.1 Summary of findings………………………………………………………………………..…………………………….92

5.2 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………95

5.3 Recommendation………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………96

BIBLOGRAPHY……………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………….98


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APA

Research, S. (2022). The Right to a Fair Hearing and Legal Representation of the Indigents: A Case Study of Legal Aid Scheme in Kano State, Nigeria. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/the-right-to-a-fair-hearing-and-legal-representation-of-the-indigents-a-case-study-of-legal-aid-scheme-in-kano-state-nigeria

MLA 8th

Research, SSA "The Right to a Fair Hearing and Legal Representation of the Indigents: A Case Study of Legal Aid Scheme in Kano State, Nigeria" Afribary. Afribary, 08 Sep. 2022, https://afribary.com/works/the-right-to-a-fair-hearing-and-legal-representation-of-the-indigents-a-case-study-of-legal-aid-scheme-in-kano-state-nigeria. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

MLA7

Research, SSA . "The Right to a Fair Hearing and Legal Representation of the Indigents: A Case Study of Legal Aid Scheme in Kano State, Nigeria". Afribary, Afribary, 08 Sep. 2022. Web. 27 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/the-right-to-a-fair-hearing-and-legal-representation-of-the-indigents-a-case-study-of-legal-aid-scheme-in-kano-state-nigeria >.

Chicago

Research, SSA . "The Right to a Fair Hearing and Legal Representation of the Indigents: A Case Study of Legal Aid Scheme in Kano State, Nigeria" Afribary (2022). Accessed May 27, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/the-right-to-a-fair-hearing-and-legal-representation-of-the-indigents-a-case-study-of-legal-aid-scheme-in-kano-state-nigeria