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What happens if I win or if I loose?

If you win the court case, you will be entitled to the reliefs or remedies you have sought in the legal action. For instance, one of the reliefs you seek may be that the court should order the respondent to pay you an amount of money for damages.

1

What judicial remedies are available if the court decided that my rights were violated?

The purpose of the Fundamental Rights Procedure is to ask the court to determine if your rights are or were violated and to provide a solution or remedy. Remedies are diverse and can involve compensating the victim, court orders to stop a violation from happening.

Examples of remedies include:

  • An order of writ of habeas corpus – it is used to challenge the unlawful detention of any person either in custody or private hands. When the court orders such writ, it is to inquire into the cause for which someone is detained. If there is no legal justification for the detention, the court will order the release of the person.

 

  • An order of injunction – It is an order granted by the court to restrain an individual, government or its agent from interfering with your rights. An injunction is a judicial order restraining a person from beginning or continuing an action threatening or invading the legal right of another, or compelling a person to carry out a certain act.

 

  • Damages – Damages may be awarded as compensation for loss suffered.

 

 

A real-life case:

IGWEOKOLO v. AKPOYIBO & ORS (2017) LPELR-41882(CA) – The appellant alleged that his fundamental right to life, dignity of human person and right to personal liberty guaranteed under Sections 33, 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution had been violated by the respondents in arresting, detaining and torturing him from 23rd of May to 26th May 2009.  Upon appeal, the appellant was entitled to the sum of N2 million as damages/compensation for the violation of his fundamental right in arresting and detaining him unlawfully.

 

 

2

What happens if my legal action is not successful in court?

1.You can appeal to a higher court in case you lose the action to enforce your rights in a lower court. For instance, if you institute an action to enforce your right to own property (your properties may have been claimed unlawfully) in the High Court and you lose the case, you can appeal against the decision of the lower court by instituting an action in an higher court such as the Court of Appeal.

Bear in mind that appeals are complex and subjet to specific rules. This will require yo to discuss this with a legal professional to determine together if to appeal or not.

2.Human rights violations can also be instituted in regional human rights courts. For instance, the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights can take human rights violation cases as Nigeria is a state party to ECOWAS and AU.

The African Court on Human and People’s Rights will require you to exhaust local remedies (instituting legal actions in Nigerian courts) before your case can be accepted in these regional human rights courts.

Please note that you do not need to exhaust local remedies before instituting an action at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice.

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