BUSINESS LAW DEPARTMENT
Staff of the Department
The Department is manned by three Lawyers and three supporting staff, these are:-
Mrs W.O.Anaekwe - Director/Head of the Department.
Mrs A.F Oguneye - Deputy Director
Mrs .Ada Omouasigwe - Assistant Direct or
Mrs. O. Taiwo - Chief Typist
Mrs. Mary Nwaezeapu - Senior Clerical Officer
Scope of Work of the Business Law Department
The Business Law Department (hereinafter referred to as “the Department”) researches commercial/business lawa. These include statutes, case-laws, rules and regulations and all related matters. Apart from researching into subject-matters within commercial and business law, the department may be assigned extra-departmental(topical) topics by the Commission, and has for the past years carried out some far-reaching research exercises both within and outside commercial/business law.
WORK IN PROGRESS/CURRENT PROJECTS
- Review of the Provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990( CAMA)
The department is currently reviewing the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act , 1990(CAMA). Sixteen years after its enactment, a proper overhaul is necessary so as to identify defects and loopholes which may hinder free flow of investments if not plugged. A national workshop on the review of Companies and Allied Maters Act will come up very soon.
- Reform of Consumer Protection Laws
The department is also working on the reform of consumer Protection Laws with a view to holding a national workshop on the subject-matter and producing a comprehensive legislation of consumer protection.
The identification of defects on Consumer Protection Council Act No 66 pf 1992 and how those defects affect the implementation of the Act with recommendations for amendment. The research involves fieldwork wherein the department practically visited and interviewed the Consumer Protection Council staff and other members of the Public. Questionnaires were also administered.
- Other Laws being Reviewed in the Course of Research are: the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act, No. 15 of 1993; the Standards Organization of Nigeria Act, Cap. 412, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990; the Sale of Goods Act, 1893; and the Hire Purchase Act, Cap. 169, Laws of the Federation, 1990.
Completed Projects of the Commission that have been Promulgated into Laws
The Business Law Department in conjunction with other legal departments worked on the following projects which have since been enacted into Laws. These include the following:
- Uniform High Court Civil Procedure Rules for State High Courts(1984).
Most of the States of the Federation have now enacted laws adopting the High Court Cibil Procedure Rules..
- Pre-1900 English Statutes of General Application. The Commission’s Report was accepted and it culminated in the promulgation, at the Federal level, of Insurance( Miscellaneous Provisions) Decree No.40 of 1988; Labour Act (Amendment) Decree No.27 of 1989 and Merchant Shipping(Amendment) Decree No.20 of 1988. Twenty draft model Edicts were prepared for the States. They include: Administration of Estates Edict, Bills of Sale Edicts, Couriers Edict, Contracts Edicts, Degamation Edict, Partnership Edict, Sale of Goods Edict, Torts Edict, Trustees Edict and Wills Edict. Many STATES HAVE ALREADY PROMULGATED THE Edicts.
- REFORM OF COMPANY LAW:
The Commission’s Report and draft bills was submitted to the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation in 1979. He established a Consultative Assembly to deliberate on the Report and this culminated in the promulgation of the Companies and Allied Matters(CAMA) Act No 1 of 1990.
- Copyright Act 1990, Cap. 68.
Completed Projects yet to be Promulgated into Laws:
The Business Law Department in conjunction with other legal departments worked on some projets which are yet to be implemented by the Government. These include the following:
- Reform of the Industrial Property Law
The draft Industrial Property Bill consists of the law relating to Ptents, Utilitty Models. Industrial Designs, Trade Marks, and the Registration of the Transfer Foreign Technology. Some of the most far-reaching reforms effected in these ;aws in relation to foreign investments are the introduction of the Utility Model known as “Petty Patent”into the Patent law, and the introduction of “Service Marks”are entirely new concepts in our legal system. The Utility Model’s system enables an inventor whose technology or invention does not qualify to be registered under Patent law(because of the stringent requirements for registration under it) to be registered under the Utility Model and thereby enables the inventor to exploit and derive benefits from his invention even though it is crude. “Service Marks”on the other hand, enables an inventor r investor to register his Service logo and so be able to protect his business. A foreign investor who wishes to establish a Dry Cleaning Service business in Nigeria for instance cannot register his Logo or Service Marks under the present Trade Marks Act and so cannot protect it in this regard.
- Reform of Evidence Act
Evidence Law has taken into account the technological and other advances made in recent years, for instance, the global computerization and information technology development. It has consequently, introduced a means of receving computer and other electronic-generated evidence inn our courts.
- Reform of the Land Use Act
With respect to Land Use Act’s reform, the Commission has among other things proposed practical solutions to some of the problems bedeviling the implementation of the Act. Some of the important innovations introduced in the draft Land Bill would make land more readily vailable and cheaper for the use of the ordinary people, and would in addition make the acquisition of land for public purpose reasonably cheap and easy in the best interest of the people, which is the main objective for enacting the Land Use Act in 1978..
Some of the innovations introduced include; detailed procedure for revocation of rights of occupancy, realistic principle of compensation for revocation of rights of occupancy, distinction between Government lands and other lands, a comprehensive system of land documentation, and an improved system of management of Governmnet land by the Minister, the Governor and the Local Governments with effective checks through mandatory consultations.
OTHER ACTIVITIES OF THE BUSINESS LAW DEPARTMENT.
- Nigerian Law Reform Commission Journal
The department reviewed a number of reported cases and statutes relating to business/commercial law which were published in the resuscitated maiden edition of the "Nigerian Law Rfeorm Commission Journal" published in 1996.
The Director and Head of the Department wrote an article on "implementation of Law Reform proposals, The Nigerian Experience."
- Repeal of Obnoxious Laws in Nigeria.
The House of Representative’s Committee on Justice etc, sought and received the assistance of the department in collating and advising on all the inputs received from stakeholders at the public hearing on the repeal of obnoxious laws in Nigeria.
REVISION OF THE LAWS OF THE FEDERATION, 1990.
Soon after the movement of the entire staff of the department to Abuja, Law Officers of the Commission were directed to reveiew the laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. Preliminary research on the modalities for carrying out the exercise was carried out, discussed and agreed upon. The work was then shared among the three legal departments. The department had already completed the incorporation of all amendments before the exercise was taken over by a committee set up by th Federal Ministry of Justice.
WORKSHOP AND CONFERENCES ATTENDED.
- Public Hearing on Penal and Prisons Reforms in Nigeria organized by the House of Representatives”Committee on internal Affairs, police Affairs and Judiciary.
- Nigerian Bar ASSOCIATION Annual Conference, Ibadan-August 2002.
The Commission has always adopted a public participatory method of reform since its nception. Recognizing that it is operating in a predominantly illiterate society, it has always made delieberate efforts to create reform awareness for its reform measures. Depending on the subject-matter, the Commission adopts the following procedure:
- Preparation of Discussion Paper- Review of issues on specific areas of the law identifying any defects and recommending solutions( this is usually preceded by a preliminary paper from general reading by the Commission).
- Adoption of a Consultative Working Paper- This involves an n-house formal presentation of the basic problems and defects. This is taken to a National Wworkshop for debate.
- Consultation- With professionals and any interested individuals or group on a particular Working Paper before and after the adoption of the Working Paper , and where necessary administration of Questionnares.
- Use of Mass Media-This involves the widespread dissemination and advertising the items of reform with a view to soliciting memoranda, feed back from interested groups, persons and bodies.
- Commissioning of Experts-to present papers on issues or topics on a given subject-matter. At the Seminar/Workshop, the detailed working papers contanining the combined approved view received from the members of the public and the Commission’s internal research results and a draft bill on the topic are discussed and debated. Thereafter, the recommendations at the Workshop together with further comments received after theWorkshop are sifted and incorporated if found suitable into the Commission’s own findings to produce a final Report, which is the n submitted to the Attorney-General..
Furthermore, the Commission creates awareness of its operations by publicizing its activities in its “Law Reform Journal, “FOCUS”and “Corporate Profile”. Members of the public are invited to contribute to the Journal on any request on any aspect of law reform.