The Delta State House of Assembly has enacted a new law for the establishment, composition, and regulation of the customary courts in Delta State.
The information in respect of the new enactment is contained in a letter dated 22nd May, 2019 signed by G. N. Dele Okafor, the Chief Registrar, Customary Court of Appeal,l with reference number DSSCA/192/VOL.II/110 made available to TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL) addressed to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Asaba Branch, Delta State.
The new law called Customary Courts Law, 2019, which has been assented to by His Excellency, the Governor, came into force on the 10th of April, 2019. Some of the features of the new law are:
I. The designation of the presiding officers in Area and District Customary Court is now Chairman.
II. The jurisdiction to hear tenancy matters in residential premises is now vested in both Area and District Customary Courts
III. The jurisdiction to hear and determine causes arising from the Recovery of Premises Law (commercial premises) is now expressly vested in Area and Customary District Courts
IV. The pecuniary jurisdiction of District Customary Courts to determine cases and matters on inheritance and administration of estates upon intestacy has been increased to N5, 000, 000 (Five Million Naira) while those of Customary Area Courts remain unlimited
V. The pecuniary jurisdiction of District Customary Courts to determine cases and matters under any law (other than customary law) has been increased to N10, 000, 000.00 (Ten Million) while that of Customary Courts has been increased to 50, 000, 000 (Fifty Million Naira)
VI. While the criminal jurisdiction of the Customary Area Courts has been increased, criminal jurisdiction has now been conferred on District Customary Courts presided over by lawyers.
Legal Practitioners and litigants are invited to avail themselves of the opportunities provided by the law.
It is hoped that this will bring further justice delivery closer to the common man and improve peace, law, and order which are aspect of the Delta State Government’s SMART Agenda.
Copies are available in the registries of the various Customary Area Courts across the state.