The Solicitors Department is one of the Departments of the Federal Ministry of Justice. The Department is headed by a Director, assisted by Other Counsel. It also has support staff charged with secretarial and clerical Duties. It is a non-litigation Department and our mission is to maintain and enhance high quality of service delivery in the following respects:-
1. Giving legal advice to the Federal Government.
Vetting of Contract Agreement from Ministries and extra ministerial agencies on behalf of the Federal Government.
2. Acting as a Secretariat to the Body of Benchers of Nigeria and Disciplinary Committee.
3. Issuance of letter of approval of fees payable to external Solicitors Retained by various Ministries.
4. Attending negotiation and reconciliatory meeting as Government Representatives.
5. Vetting application for consent of Attorney General for the Registration of Companies Limited by guarantee forwarded by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The vision of the Department is to deliver efficient and effective service through prompt performance and disposal of all assignments. This is made possible by a team of highly professional and dedicated staff who are ready to put in their best in all assignments.
To efficiently, professionally and effectively discharge our statutory duties.
The Solicitors Department is charged with the following Functions;
Vetting of Contract Agreements
The Department is charged with the responsibility of vetting contract Agreements from Ministries and Extra Ministerial Agencies on behalf of the Federal Government. Most of the contracts are those approved by the Federal Executive Council and or those with value above N50 Million Naira.
Constituting Secretariat of the Body of Benchers
The department constitutes the Secretariat of the Body of Benchers and Carries out such functions of the body at meetings in the Supreme Court. It takes part in screening of Candidates for call to Bar and prepares the Minutes for all their meetings.
Companies Limited by Guarantee
The Department treats applications for incorporation companies Limited by guarantee from the Corporate Affairs Commission and makes recommendations (where necessary) for authorizations of the HAGF to enable such companies to be incorporated.
The department acts as the secretariat of the Body Attorneys General.
The Department represents the Ministry at meetings whenever requested by other Ministries and Extra Ministerial Departments and Agencies.
All assignments, received by the department are treated promptly without any delay. The Department also performs such other functions as may be assigned by the HAGF or the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary.
Instruments For Service Delivery
The Solicitors Department makes use of the Companies and Allied Matters Decree, 1990 (CAMA) for vetting files concerning company limited by Guarantee.
It also makes use of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It uses other relevant laws an statues to carry out it's various functions and deliver services satisfactorily.
Complaints/Constraints in the Performance of the Duties In the Department
Over time we have noticed that most Government Agencies forward Contracts for vetting without regard to the time frame required for proper Vetting of sue documents. It is suggested that this attitude corrected and the Ministry should be allowed (2) two weeks, within which to vet and obtain approval on all such Agreements.
Pursuant to our role as negotiators and the Ministry charged with the responsibility of giving Clearance and approval for the execution of all Agreements sent for vetting, there is need for all Government Agencies, Ministry of Finance and other Government Parastatal to involve this Department at the commencement of negotiations on all Agreements. We wish to draw attention, to the present practice where contracts are forwarded to the Ministry for vetting and clearance after execution by Federal Ministries Parastatals. This practice should be discouraged.
A copy of all executed agreements of the Federal Government should be sent to the Solicitors Department for proper documentation and recourse to in the future. Pursuant to our joint functions with the Corporate Affairs Commission in the registration of Limited Liability Companies, there is need to liaise with their Training Department for courses that will enhance better understanding of the Sections 26 (1) of CAMA, 1990.
Of utmost importance is the need for continuous training of staff of this department at local and international course to improve contract vetting skills and in other relevant areas of the law such as, Constitutional Law, Insurance Law and Taxation Law.
It is suggested that Legal Advisers forwarding document for vetting should include their comments in a Memorandum attached to the document to be vetted.
Companies Redress Mechanism
In the event of failure, delay or low quality service, the aggrieved client can report to the Director, or to the SERVICOM Representative, who will take up the matter, to the complainant within the shortest possible time.
All enquiries or information relating to the Solicitors Department can be obtained from the Director. Director: 3 B 17 , 3rd Floor Ministry of Justice Abuja. It is our goal to continue to contribute to the reforms in the Justice Sector.