The foundation for the All Nigeria Law Report (All NLR) was laid in 1961 and as the official Law Report in Nigeria it was being published by the Federal Ministry of Justice together with the Justice Journal until the year 1990 when the publications ceased. However, in 2005, realizing its importance and relevance to the legal profession and justice sector, the Ministry sought and obtained the approval of the President to set up the Department of Law Reporting and one of the immediate functions of this, Department is to revive the publication of the All Nigeria Law Report, the Justice Journal and other legal and intellectual publications.
The discontinuity of the All Nigeria Law Report between 1990 and 2005 propelled the emergence of many private law reporters who took over the business of law reporting in the country. However, due to certain deficiencies associated with these law reports published by private individuals and organizations, the Federal Government considered it necessary in 2005 to have an authentic publication of the most important decisions of the superior courts of record in Nigeria which consist of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Court of Appeal, Federal High Courts and the High Courts of the various States.
It also considered it important to revive the publication of the Justice Journal and other legal and intellectual publications of the Ministry which will serve as veritable source of reference materials, which lawyers, Judges, legal researchers and other users will be confident to rely on and use as a result of their integrity, credibility, richness and quality of contents. It was against the above background and to ensure the success of this laudable project that a structural framework of an 18 man Editorial Board was set up and charged with the responsibility of supervising the publication of the All Nigeria Law Report. Again; a 17 man Editorial Board was established for the publication of the justice Journal and other legal and intellectual publications.
To have a qualitative publication, the Ministry has caused to be published 10 volumes of the back log of the Law Reports from 1990 to 2005. These volumes are also in electronic form. The existing volumes from 1961 to 1990 have also been captured in a CD-ROM version and are available on the internet for registered users. The future volumes covering reported cases from 2006 onwards would be done quarterly and eventually weekly.
They would also be available in CD-ROM and on the internet. The Department is presently headed by an Acting Director who is assisted by six lawyers and three support staff.
The vision of the Department is to be the leading authority in the exposition of law and legal issues of contemporary relevance through the publication of reliable, credible, affordable and authoritative Law Reports and other legal and intellectual publications of international standard for the enthronement and survival of democracy, rule of law, the attainment of economic and social justice and the growth of the legal profession in Nigeria.
In this connection, the Editorial Board of the All Nigerian Law Report and that of the Justice Journal have been established, comprising of eminent jurists and erudite scholars to supervise the publications. The All Nigeria Law Report, the Justice Journal, and the other publications will no doubt help scholars, lawyers, judges, researchers and many others to have access to a credible source of case Law reported in Nigeria.
Having a good Law Report is sine qua non to having a virile legal profession, ‘in particular and a successful legal practice in general. The publication of the All Nigeria Law Report had been abandoned for a considerable time thereby yielding the market to private individuals and law firms who have now taken over law reporting in the country.
This has given rise to a major concern as the authenticity of these private law reports cannot be vouched for. It has, therefore, become imperative for the Ministry to revive the publication of the All Nigeria Law Report and the other legal and intellectual work of the Ministry in the overriding interest of the administration of justice in the country.
Therefore, the focal point of the Department is to collect, collate and publish an authentic, credible, qualitative, rich and affordable Law Report and to publish and circulate the Justice Journal and other legal and intellectual publications where contemporary legal and intellectual issues are discussed and analyzed which have or will have legal, political, social and economic impact on the lives of the citizenry and provide a sound legal framework and an affordable, reliable, and easy access to justice for all.
The Department undertakes visits to the various Courts of record in Nigeria which include the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Court of Appeal, Federal High Court and the High Courts of the various States to collect and collate the judgments delivered by the courts for consideration and selection of landmark cases by the Editorial Board. The Department in collaboration with the publishers painstakingly, analyze, summarize the decision, edit, proof-read, and process the judgments and they are thereafter published.
The Department sources and obtains materials from within and outside the Ministry for the publication of Newsletters for the Ministry, the Justice Journal and other Legal and Intellectual publications. In this respect, Articles and write-ups are received from justice sector stakeholders, analyzed, assessed, edited and published for onward circulation.
The Department as the official publication arm of the Ministry produces the authentic Law Report of the most important decided cases of the superior courts of record in Nigeria which serve as a veritable source of reference material, which lawyers, Judges, legal researchers and other users would be confident to use as a result of its integrity, editorial work, the quality of its contents and affordability.
The Department similarly publishes the Justice Journal and other legal and intellectual publications which provide additional means of disseminating information about the Ministry and serve as a platform for informed discussion and analysis of legal issues of contemporary relevance. The publications are done regularly, promptly and with extensive coverage of contemporary and relevant legal issues at an affordable and reasonable cover prize.
The Department in collaboration with the Publishers is engaged in sustained marketing strategy to make the publications accessible to all users.
The draft Law Reports, the Justice Journal and other legal and intellectual publications of the Ministry are usually subjected to high-level scrutiny and criticisms before processing and final publication. However, in the event of any complaints arising either before or after the publication of the Law Reports, journals and other legal and intellectual publications, reference should be made in writing to Director Law Reporting Department, Federal Ministry of Justice Abuja.
The staffs of the Department are required to undertake visitations to the courts of record for the collection of raw judgments delivered by the courts. The staff then analyze and summarize the raw judgments, formulate and develop issues from the judgment, edit, proof-read and participate in the publication of the Law Reports and the other legal and intellectual publications. They are also required to apply themselves to the work and produce the best, timely and quality result. The work of the Department is specialized and research based.
The Department links up with the Department of Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry to produce a database on determined and various aspects of case law together with all the laws reported with annotations to serve as an aid to legal researchers, Judges, legal practitioners and other interested stakeholders.
The Department maintains a cordial relationship with other justice sector stakeholders whereby well thought out Articles, which deal with topical issues, especially from the perspective of contributing to the development of Nigerian Jurisprudence and administration of justice and beyond are forwarded to the Department for consideration and possible publication in the Justice Journal.
The various Departments in the Ministry and the legal units of the various Ministries submit write-ups on their regular activities which are published in the Ministry’s Newsletter.
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