The Civil Litigation and Public Law Department is a Core-department of The Ministry that has been operative since the inception of the Federal Ministry of Justice. The Department by its schedule is positioned as an image maker of the Ministry, as officers of the department are often in the courts regularly, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Prior to 2004, it covered all its cases throughout the Federation from a central point, The headquarters, which was first located in Marina, Lagos but was subsequently moved to Abuja in line with Federal Government directives. Presently, it handles its cases through a zoning system, with Twelve (12) zonal offices located in the six geo Political zones as follows: Abuja, Maiduguri, Jos, Enugu, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Sokoto, Yola, Owerri, Akure and Benin which are to expand with additional six zonal offices.
The Civil Litigation and Public Law Department Mission statement is "To ensure fair and equitable dispensation of Justice in the federation of Nigeria." (Through diligent, defense of all its cases).
The vision of the Department is to render professional quality Service through effective and efficient representation of all stakeholders' interest in the dispensation of justice.
Provision of legal representation for the Federal Government in all civil matters involving the Federal and its Agencies pending before court of Law, Tribunal Arbitration etc.
- Rendering legal opinions on actions and policy matters of government Ministries, Department and Agencies.
- Initiation of actions to assert public rights and interests.
- The representation of government and its agencies in actions of breach of contract, enforcement of fundamental rights, master and servant, relationship, cancellation of oil prospecting licenses; property matters, Taxation matters, enforcement of judgments etc.
- The provision of legal advice to all Federal Government and parastatals.
- Liaising with all legal units of MDAs in the handling of civil matters affecting the Federal Government.
- The Department also promotes strict adherence to the principles of the rule of Law which is one of the cardinal objectives of the present Administration.
- The Department also serve as the secretariat of the international committee of judgment debt verification.
- Forwarding of court processes served on the ministry to the twelve (12) zonal offices in the six geo political zones of the court.
Effects Of Non Delivery Of Services
The non-delivery of services by the Department will mostly likely impact on the public in the following manner:-
(i) Judgments: Judgments entered against the Government in most cases have crippling financial implications. Tax payers' money as well as revenue realized from various economic se6tors will be utilized in the payment of judgment debts which may well run up to millions of Naira. Presently, there are cases of judgment creditors trying to satisfy Judgment debts from even the federation account.
(ii) Injunctions: Injunctive orders by the courts may cripple government activities particularly in the economic sector; an example is the Federal High Court order on Government's flaring of gas in the Delta region.
(iii) Prohibitions: Prohibitive orders by courts may lead to flagrant abuse by certain class of citizens; an example is the Federal High Court judgment on the Public Order Act.
(iv) Immigration Laws: Foreigners may seize the opportunity of non - performance by this department to flout immigration laws of this country.
Further, there may be flagrant breaches of constitutional provisions by States of the Federation and individual bearing in mind that one of the Attorney-General's responsibilities is the assertion of public rights.