Dalhousie Law Journal


Niki TobiFollow


Federal Ministry of Justice, Colonial Legal Department, Registrar, Taxing Master of Supreme Court, Queen's Advocate, Queen's Proctor, Attorney-General


Before the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Justice, there was in existence the Colonial Legal Department which was headed by a Britain. He was the Registrar and Taxing Master of the then Supreme Court between 1863 and 1901. In addition to this duty, he functioned both as the Queen's Advocate and the Queen's Proctor. The exact date in which the office of the Attorney-General was created is not known but there is evidence that it was created during the era of Lord Lugard. The first incumbent of the office of the Attorney-General was Sir Donald Kingdon who was in office for almost twenty years. He vacated the office in 1943 to become the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The Law Officers Act made provision for the offices of the Attorney-General, Solicitor-General and Crown Counsel who were designated as Law Officers of the Federal Government. The Attorney-General and other Crown Counsel had the right to practice ex-officio as "barristers, advocate and Solicitor" of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. They also had the right to appear in court in all parts of the Country as Counsel. The Federal Ministry of Justice was formally established on October 1, 1960 when Nigeria attained independence. The first incumbent of the office of the Attorney-General was Mr. Justice T.O. Elias.