The most important Nigerian law reports are the authorized Law Reports which are cited by reference to the court in which the decision is made etc. In addition there are the All Nigerian Law Reports cited by the abbreviation “All NLR”. In Nigeria the most important reports from our viewpoint are the Nigerian Law Report, Nigerian Weekly Law Reports, Law Breeds, Weekly Report of Nigeria etc
The most important statutes are the Federal statutes and the state laws for each state and the received English Laws. Naturally, enough we focus on the statutes in this course but it should be realized that in many cases the states have equivalent statutory laws. There are for example more or less uniform laws in each state with little variation between the 19 Northern and 17 Southern States. Many of these statutes are based on an English model and have retained their common features for many years, though in declining proportions.
The Reception of Law into Nigeria
You may have been wondering why in the earlier discussion constant reference was made to the English legal system and its historical 19 LAW 100 INTRODUCTION TO LAW development and you might have questioned the relevance for Nigeria. The relevance is clear when you realize that English Law and its system were directly implemented in Nigeria when it was British colony.
A famous lawyer of the 18th century, Blackstone, expounded a principle as follows: If an uninhabited country be discovered and planted by English subjects, all of the English laws then in being, which are the birthright of every subject, are immediately there in force.
As noted above, the presence of indigenous people and their laws were ignored when Lagos was first ceded. In fact, that more or less remained the position until nearly 100 or so years of our colonial history. However, the question of the proper place of native/customary law is topical. In this course we will study certain aspects of the customary law in some detail, partly because it raises these fundamental issues, which touch upon our modern legal system and also because it provides useful guide as to what law ought to be observed or enforced.
What Law Applies?
The summary that came from the last activity refers more particularly to statute law but at all times English common law was (and still is) being received into Nigeria. It is not binding on our courts but it is often most persuasive particularly if there is no relevant Nigerian case on the subject in question.
Contrast with Municipal Law
As the term suggests, international law is concerned with the rules of law, which govern the relations between countries. On the other hand municipal law relates to the body of law, which governs the internal affairs of a country
The above branches are not to be seen as exhaustive but merely Indicative Chisholm and Netheim describe the basic differences between international law and municipal law as