Menu

What is the process of making an Enforcement of Fundamental Rights claim?

1

Who can start a Fundamental Rights claim?

Based on the provisions in the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Rules, Section 3(e), the followings persons or organizations can take legal action to challenge human rights violation:

  1. Anyone acting in his own interest.
  2. Anyone acting on behalf of another.
  3. Anyone acting as a member of, or in the interest of a group or class of persons.
  4. Anyone acting in the public interest.
  5. Association acting in the interests of its members or other individuals or groups. Ths includes human rights activists, advocates, or groups as well as any non-governmental organisations, acting on behalf of a potential applicant.
2

Who can I take legal action against?

It is important to identify who you can take legal action against because suing the wrong party (person) could make you lose your case.

Legal action can therefore be taken against the person or entity directly responsible for the violation of your rights. It could be taken against:

  • an individual
  • a company
  • an agency
  • a ministry
  • or a government body

As long as they are responsible for the violation of your rights.

 

3

Where can I take legal action?

 

Order II Rule 1 of the FREP Rule 2009

Any person who alleges that any of the Fundamental Rights made available in the Nigerian Constitution or the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act and to which he is entitled, has been, is being, or is likely to be infringed, may apply to the Court in the State where the infringement occurs or likely to occur, for redress; and by the proviso to this Rule, where the infringement occurs in a State which has no Division of the Federal High Court, the Division of the Federal High Court Administratively responsible for the State shall have jurisdiction. Any person whose fundamental right has been breached, is being breached or is likely to be breached, may apply to a High Court of in that State for enforcement of his rights

 

 

You may take legal action against anyone or institution who infringes upon your rights, by instituting an action in a High Court (Federal or state).

However, in a matter in which the Federal Government or any of its agencies is involved, the Federal High Court will be the right court at which to institute your action.

 

4

How do I take legal action?

The steps involved are as follows:

1.An application for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights may be made by any originating process to the court. The application shall be supported by a statement setting out the:

  1. name,
  2. description of the applicant,
  3. the relief(s) sought, in other words, what you are asking the court to give you,and
  4. the grounds upon which the reliefs are sought, in other words what are the rights that have been violated and the laws that allow you to seek the court’s help.

2.The application must be supported by an affidavit setting out the facts upon which the application is made as provided under Order II Rules 2 and 3 of the FREP rules 2009.This means explaining what the facts where that lead  to your human rights being violated.

3.The application should be accompanied by a written address which shall contain brief argument in support of the grounds, or reasons as to how the facts amount to the violation of your rights and which rights, as provided under Order II Rule 5 of the Rules.

4. The other party will be served with your application, which means the other party will be made aware of the application. They will be given 5 days from receiving your application to oppose and submit a written address and a counter affidavit stating his facts and grounds to oppose your application.

5. You wll then be served or informed by the court about the other party’s response and will be given 5 days to respond to their arguments by submitting another  written address and affidavit.

 

5

How do I prove that my rights have been violated?

In order for your action to stand a chance at being successful, you need to ensure that you are able to provide evidence in support of your allegations.

Without evidence, it would be difficult to win a case. Therefore, to prove that your rights have been violated, you as the victim could provide different forms of evidence, such as:

  • Oral evidence (e.g. the narration of your own side of the story)
  • Electronic evidence (e.g. video records from CCTV cameras or phone cameras)
  • Real/physical evidence (e.g. clothing or scratch on your body)
  • Documentary evidence (e.g. photographs, receipts or records of documents such as statements of the witnesses to the incident)
  • Other evidence could be objects, documents, and witnesses involved in the incident. For instance, evidence such as:
  • Police records
  • Your police statements.
  • Video records capturing the scene of the violation
  • Witnesses and their respective statements
  • Various other official documentation.

 

6

What are the challenges I may face in enforcing my rights upon violation?

There are practial aspects which are relevant to think about when deciding if to take legal action:

  • You may not get justice on time. Sometimes, litigation processes usually take longer than expected.
  • Your case may be struck out by the court if in the court’s discretion you don’t allege serious human rights violation.
  • Monetary challenges may also hinder you from seeking redress in the court because you will need a lawyer and need to pay legal fees.
Who are we?

Action4Justice is a group of NGO's united to support public interest litigation worldwide as a means to advance social justice.

Learn more
Our members
  • Oxfam
  • PILAC
  • Greenpeace
  • Transparency International
  • IHRDA
  • NULAI
  • Forest People’s Programme
Support Us

We seek partnerships with organizations and communities worldwide who support our goals. Join our network, or volunteer.

Learn more