The Solicitors Department is one of the departments at the Federal Ministry of Justice which is headed by a Director,assisted by 10 other Counsel on various grade levels. It also has supporting staff that are charged with secretarial and clerical duties. It is a non-litigation Department and our mission is to maintain and enhance high quality of service in an efficient, professional and prompt manner.
The vision of the Department is to deliver efficient and effective service through prompt performance and disposal of all assignments. This is made possible by a team of highly professional and dedicated staff who are ready to put in their best in all assignments.
To efficiently, professionally and effectively discharge our statutory duties
Vetting of Contract Documents from Ministries and extra Ministerial Agencies on behalf of the Federal Government
• Legal Opinion
• Providing Legal Advice any legal matters assigned to it especially Constitutional, Commercial and Taxation Laws
• Treats Applications for Incorporation of Companies Limited by Guarantee from Corporate Affairs Commission
• The Department serves as the Secretariat of the Body of Attorneys-General
• Attending Meetings – The Department represents the Ministry at negotiations and reconciliatory and Technical Committee meetings as Government representatives
• Payment of Legal Fees – The Department is in charge of vetting the application for approval to engage external lawyers for extra Ministerial Departments and the Legal Fees they propose.
All assignments received by the department are treated promptly without any delay. The department also performs such other functions as may be assigned by the HAGF or the Solicitor General of the Federation and permanent Secretary.
INSTRUMENTS FOR SERVICE DELIVERY
The Solicitors department makes use of the Companies and Allied Matters Decree, 1990 (CAMA) for vetting of files concerning company limited by Guarantee. It also makes use of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It uses other relevant laws and statues to carry out its various functions and deliver services satisfactorily.
Constraints in Performance of Duties of the Department
Overtime we have noticed that most Government Agencies forward Contracts for vetting without regards to the time frame required for proper Vetting of such documents. It is suggested that this attitude be corrected and the Ministry should be allowed (2) two weeks within Which to vet and obtain approval on all such Agreement Pursuant to our role as negotiators and the Ministry charged with the responsibility of giving clearance and approval for the executive of all Agreements sent for vetting, there is need for all Government Agencies, Ministry of Finance and other Government parastatals to involve this Department at the commencement of negotiations on all Agreements.
We wish to draw attention, to the present practice where contracts are forwarded to the Ministry for vetting and clearance after execution by Federal Ministries/parastatals. This practice should be discouraged.
• A copy of all executive agreements of the Federal Government should be sent to the Solicitors Department for proper documentation and recourse to in the future.
• Pursuant to our joint functions with the Corporate Affairs Commission in the registration of Limited Liability Companies, there is need to liaise with their Training Department for course that will enhance better understanding of the Sections 26 (1) of CAMA,1990.
• Of utmost importance is the need for continuous training of staff of this Department at local and International course to improve contract vetting skills and in other relevant areas of the law such as, Constitutional Law, Insurance Law and Taxation Law.
• It is suggested that Legal Advisers forwarding document for vetting should include their comments in a Memorandum attached to the document to be vetted.
Companies Redress Mechanism
In the event of failure, delay or low quality service, the aggrieved client can report to the Director, or to the SERVICOM Representative, who will take up the matter, to the complainant within the shortest possible time.
All enquiries or information relating to the Solicitors Department can be obtained from the Director: 3 B 17, 3rd Floor Ministry of Justice, Abuja. It is our goal to continue to contribute to the reforms in the Justice Sector.