The Nigerian legal system is based on the English Common Law. In 1963, Nigeria became a Republic; the judicial committee of the Privy Council was abolished and the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The highest court in Nigeria is situated in Abuja.
In 1976, the Court of Appeal was established as a national court. Next in hierarchy to the Court of Appeal are the High courts of the thirty six states. The high courts are trial courts.
Cases can be referred to higher courts if one party is not pleased with any judgment because under the 1999 constitution, the Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdictions. However, the last place where any case can be heard is the Supreme Court. The decisions rendered by the court are binding on all other courts except the Supreme Court itself.
In many states in the Northern part of the country, the Sharia Penal Code is in operation. Offences such as theft, homosexuality, alcohol consumption, fornication and adultery attract such punishment as stoning, lashing and long prison sentences.
Nigeria’s legal system is headed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.