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    A. Introduction

    This edition of Akintunde Esan's legal illumination is focusing on how to initiate or commence a divorce process in Nigeria and the the only eight (8) legal grounds upon which a divorce is legally required to be filed in Court in Nigeria as provided in the Matrimonial Causes Act, which is the Law regulating the filing for Divorce in Nigeria.

    B. Where to Get a Divorce

    The place to get a divorce in Nigeria is either in the High Court for statutory marriages or the Customary Court for customary marriages.

    The legal implication of having either a customary or a statutory marriage is that, while a statutory marriage can only be dissolved by a High Court of competent jurisdiction on the statutory grounds provided in the Matrimonial Causes Act, a customary marriage can be dissolved arbitrarily or without resorting to the Customary Court by:

    i) The wife leaving the husband and the bride price being refunded; ...


    A. Introduction

    Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. There are different perspectives to the grounds for dissolving a marriage such as the religious, cultural, jurisprudential, sociological, statutory, trendy, mystical and pragmatic perspectives. Take for instance in the Christian faith, adultery is the only recognised ground for divorce.

    This edition of Akintunde Esan's legal illumination is focusing on the legal grounds for getting a divorce in Nigeria as provided in the Matrimonial Causes Act, which is the Law regulating the filing and processing of a divorce in Nigeria.

    The Matrimonial Causes Act

    Prior to the year 1970, the statute regulating the requirements, conditions and grounds for divorce in Nigeria was the English Matrimonial Law known as the Marriage Ordinance or Old Marriage Act, which became applicable in Nigeria by virtue of Lagos beco...


    A. Introduction

    This edition of Akintunde Esan's Legal Illumination is written with the plight of parents battling with the issue of child custody in mind. Who will the Court grant the custody a child or the children after going through the pains and trauma of a divorce or a separation.

    Thus, the focus of this legal illumination is the factors the Court will consider in awarding custody to one of the parents whether married or unmarried; or married but separated; and whether the child custody is sought for with or without a divorce.

    B. Who is a Child

    The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child defined a child as “every human being below the age of eighteen years”.The United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 defines a child as a person below the age o...


    A lot of Start-ups are confused as to the appropriate corporate structure to use for their business. The decision on how to form your business will influence several aspects of the business which includes how profits and losses are shared, how the business pays taxes and who runs the business. Factors that you will consider before making a choice of corporate structure for your business include purpose/object of the business, cost of registering the business and cost of maintaining it, capital, taxation, liability, management et cetera.

    If you want to run a one-man business then Business Name will be suitable for you. Incorporation of company requires at least two Subscribers (members).Formation of private company requires at least 2 members and a maximum of 50 members while a public company requires at least 2 members and has no maximum number of members. Thus, where the intending shareholders of a proposed company are more than 50, the only op...


    What is a witness?

    A witness is someone who can provide evidence relevant to a case being dealt with in court. In other words, they have seen, heard or otherwise observed something that may assist a court in deciding a case.

    A witness might be called to court to give evidence in a range of cases, including civil, family and criminal cases. The information here deals with appearing as a witness in criminal cases, however, many of the general principles about appearing as a witness are the same, no matter what type of case it is.

    How is a witness identified in criminal cases?

    Usually, while police are investigating an alleged offence, they try to locate any witnesses who may be able to assist in their investigation and who may later be able to attend court to provide evidence about the offence.

    Witnesses may also be located by the person charged with a criminal offence, to assist them in the presentation of their defence in court.

    Do witnesses...


    A document that expresses mutual accord on an issue between two or more parties.
    Memorandum of understanding are generally recognized as binding, even if no legal claim could be based on the rights and obligations laid down in them. To be legally operative, a memorandum of understanding must;

    1. identify the contracting parties,
    2. spell out the subject matter of the agreement and its objectives,
    3. summarize the essential terms of the agreement, and
    4. must be signed by the contracting parties. Also called letter of intent.

    Nigeria’s economy remains heavily dependent on its crude reserves, with oil and gas still accounting for 80 per cent of the county’s fiscal revenue and 95 per cent of its export receipts. The drop in global benchmark oil prices over the last few months has therefore seriously impacted government revenues, with the naira losing over a quarter of its value against major foreign currencies in the last few months. This price drop resulted in a significant slowdown in oil transactions and in some cases even put a stop to them. The World Bank recently revised its prediction for the country’s economic growth in 2015 down from 6.3 per cent to 5.5 per cent.

    Despite this, the energy industry continues to provide a high level of activity for lawyers, with the second phase of the government’s ambitious power privatisation programme now resulting in international oil companies divesting their interests in Nigerian oil reserves. Total recently completed the...


    If you are going through a divorce, you can increase your chances of obtaining a successful outcome in your case by helping your lawyer in the following ways:

    1. Provide your lawyer all pertinent legal documents about your case

      You want to ensure that your attorney is fully aware of the document information pertinent to your case, such as pleadings that were filed, documents that were served or filed in court, financial records, taxes, income information, etc. Valuations of community property, such as blue book values or professional appraisals, as well as statements of bank accounts at the time of separation are documents that you must provide to your attorney.
    2. Prepare a summary of your case

      Your attorney must be aware of the of your side of the story. You need to tell your attorney all of the facts and provide him or her with a case summary and factual and historical account of your ma...

    There are five recognized stages of grief in the Kübler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Many people experience them during a divorce - maybe not in the same order and maybe not all of the emotions.

    1. Denial

      A good friend just came to me in tears. Her husband wants a divorce. I don't think it was a shock to her as much as an overwhelming feeling of sadness and denial. Maybe he will change his mind - after all, they have been talking about it for years. Her sadness was palpable.
    2. Anger

      The husband had her "served" with a divorce petition. That is the paper that is filed with the court stating "you have been sued" and asking the court to dissolve the marriage. Now her emotions became raw and she became angry. How could he do this?
    3. Bargaining

      They had just been talking and now she is holding legal documents. Why could she/he not just wait until school is out and their son finishes six...

    The Nigerian justice system – which comprises four distinct branches: English law, Common law, Customary law and, in the predominantly Moslem north of the country, Sharia law – is in dire decline. Once the pride of Africa and the cradle of lawyers and judges that went on to serve with distinction across sub-Saharan Africa and even as judges in international courts, Nigerian justice is now often perverted such that it is the complainant who ends up in the dock, while the guilty are let off scot free.

    More than 700 prisoners currently languish on death row – some 140 have been there for more than 10 years and a number for over 20 years – many of whom were not given fair trials. Furthermore, human rights are frequently violated by, for example, roadside strip searches, unlawful detention, torture to extract confessions and, most shocking of all, extra-judicial executions (the murder) of detainees unable or unwilling to pay bribes. These and other...


    When as Nigerians, we come in contact with the law, either through contracts or court prosecutions and civil actions, it is sometimes difficult to fully understand the system of the law so we usually depend on lawyers to interpret the laws or procedures and also to stand for us as advocates in court. This article will be giving a brief introduction to the Nigerian legal system in a lay man’s terms in other to help the common Nigerian on the street who has no legal training understand how the law affects his civil rights, duties and obligations.

    There are numerous sources of law in the Nigerian legal system, they include:
    1. The Constitution
    2. Federal and State laws made by the Legislature. E.g. the National Assembly, consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives and also State House of Assemblies.
    3. Customary and Islamic law
    4. Laws of regulatory agencies such as N...


    Etymologically speaking, the word 'right' means that which is ruled, governed or controlled (from the Latin regere, to rule, to control) by a person. Thus, my rights are the things that I control. My natural rights are those things that by nature are under my control: my own body, various parts of which I can control directly and which naturally or organically are connected to other parts and organs of it. We can also say that a right is a person's power or faculty and that a natural right is a person's natural power or faculty. However, that is a possibly misleading way of expressing things. Strictly speaking, a right is a means of power, which, by being under one's control, gives one a faculty of doing things one otherwise would lack.

    Usually, the word 'right' connotes respectability: it is a person's respectable means of power. Thus, it is said that one ought to respect the rights of others. However, in the strict sense of the word, a right may b...


    Every patient would want all communication between them and their doctors to be kept private. Usually they may withhold some information when describing their ailments if they are not assured of confidentiality. Patients would only reveal freely with the expectation that anything done or revealed will be kept private.

    Confidentiality is defined by Churchill’s Medical Dictionary as the right of a subject to control the disposition of information disclosed during the course of professional relationship and the reciprocal obligation of the professional to ensure that no harm will befall the subject as a result of disclosures of such information. The conditions under which the obligation may or must be breached are usually determined by laws which vary from one jurisdiction to another.

    Medical doctors have a duty to keep their patients confidences. This duty of confidentiality means that a doctor may not disclose any medical information irrespective of whet...


    Capital Gains Tax accrues on an actual year basis. It pertains to all gains accruing to a taxpayer (individual or company) from the sale or lease or other transfer of proprietary rights in a chargeable interest which are subject to a capital gains tax of 10%. Such chargeable assets may be corporeal or incorporeal and it does not matter that such

    asset is not situated in Nigeria. Where however the taxpayer is a non-resident company or individual the tax will only be levied on the amount received or brought into Nigeria.

    Computation of capital gains tax is done by deducting from the sum received or receivable, the cost of acquisition to the person realizing the chargeable gain, plus expenditure incurred on the improvement or expenses incidental to the realization of the asset. By virtue of section 26 of the Capital Gains Tax Act applicable in Nigeria some capital gains are exempted from taxation. For instance;

    Gains of ecclesiastical, chari...


    A patent is usually a form of market monopoly granted to the inventors by a government authority as an incentive to invent or innovate. This grant is usually for the period of 20 years.

    Before an application for the grant of patent is made to the appropriate authority it is important to consider whether the invention meets the requisite criteria, in other words whether the invention is patentable. Section 1 of the Patent and Design Act, 1990 applicable in Nigeria, stipulates the circumstances under which an invention may be considered patentable. Under the section, an invention is patentable if “it is new , result from inventive activity and is capable of an industrial application ; or if it constitute an improvement upon a patented invention and also it is new, result from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application."to note that an invention is new if it does not form part of the state of art; in other words, everything concerning tha...


    Section 251(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria confers exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court to hear and determine admiralty disputes in Nigeria.

    The jurisdiction conferred on the Federal High Court includes the civil and criminal admiralty matters including shipping and navigation in the

    River Niger, Benue and their effluents, and also the international inland waterways and carriage by sea. In other words any dispute arising

    from these transactions can only be entertained by the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

    There is only one Federal High Court in Nigeria with its jurisdiction spreading throughout the country. The Federal High Court has various judicial divisions for convenience. On

    this note admiralty proceedings may be filed in any judicial division of the Court in which the ship or other property is located. admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal High Court covers all ships, whethe...


    Physical Custody

    Physical custody means that a parent has the right to have a child live with him or her. Some states will award joint physical custody when the child spends significant amounts of time with both parents. Joint physical custody works best if parents live relatively close to each other, as it lessens the stress on children and allows them to maintain a somewhat normal routine.

    Where the child lives primarily with one parent and has visitation with the other, generally the parent with whom the child primarily lives (called the "custodial" parent) will have sole or primary physical custody, and the other parent (the noncustodial parent) will have the right to visitation or parenting time with his or her child.

    Legal Custody

    Legal custody of a child means having the right and the obligation to make decisions about a child's upbringing. A parent with legal custody can make decisions about the child's schooling, religious upbringing and ...



    Foreclosure is the legal process that allows the owner of your home loan to sell your home to satisfy the debt that you owe. Foreclosure is the legal process that allows the owner of your home loan to sell your home to satisfy the debt that you owe.


    Foreclosure works differently in different states. There are two types of foreclosure: judicial and nonjudicial.

    • Judicial foreclosure. Judicial foreclosure requires the lender to go through the court system to take back ownership of the property.
    • Nonjudicial foreclosure. In a nonjudicial foreclosure, the lender follows a state-specific foreclosure process, but there is no court supervision.

    Each state typically uses one or the other of these procedures. With a few exceptions, mortgages can only be foreclosed in court, while deeds of trust can be foreclosed without going thro...


    When a juvenile is suspected of violating a criminal statute, the procedure that's followed is very different from that used for adult offenders in a typical criminal case. All states have created a special juvenile court system for minors who get into trouble with the law. And although some minors are ultimately judged to be delinquent by these juvenile courts, the different players in a typical juvenile case -- including police officers, prosecutors, and judges -- have broad discretion to fashion other outcomes.

    Although the procedure for juvenile delinquency cases varies from state to state, the following is a rundown of a typical juvenile case.

    How Police Deal With Juveniles

    There are a number of ways that a minor might come into contact with law enforcement over the alleged violation of a criminal statute. Some minors are arrested by police, while others are referred to the police by parents or school officials. Regardless of how th...


    A partnership is an arrangement between two or more persons carrying on business with a view to profit. Partnerships can be loose arrangements or the terms can be in a written agreement known as a Deed.

    Regardless of whether a written agreement exists, if the arrangement is clearly a partnership then the actions, powers and rights of each partner are controlled by the Partnership Act 1890.

    There are certain rights of partners protected under this Act and they include:

    1. All partners are entitled to share equally in the capital and profits of the business and will be liable to contribute equally to any losses sustained by the business.

    2. The partners are entitled to be indemnified (reimbursed) by the business for any personal liability suffered by the partner in carrying out the ordinary and proper conduct of the business or in anything done necessary to preserve the business.

    3. A pa...

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