Admissibility of Foreign Law as Opinion Evidence: The Position of Nigerian Law

J. U. Ebuara


The world has become a global village wherein free movement of people, goods and services across boundaries has become highly pronounced. The present position of law in Nigeria is that for a foreign law to be proved in Nigerian court such law must be specifically pleaded and proved by the party relying on it. This is an antithesis to globalization. By this rule foreign law is required to be proved like any other fact. To prove the foreign law the party intending to rely on the foreign law is required to call an expert whose opinion the court will rely in arriving at a decision. The obvious challenges are manifold. Firstly, where a foreign law is not proved to the satisfaction of the Nigerian court, such law will find no application in that court, even where the foreign law would have been the most appropriate law. By insisting on opinion evidence of an expert, the Nigerian conflict rules completely undermine the techniques of proving foreign law by citing the decision of a Nigerian court in which the same foreign rule was at issue, or by referring to previous decisions of foreign courts on the subject matter or the specialized knowledge of the court. Finally, the article has analyzed the proof of foreign law in Nigeria with comparative references to other jurisdictions. The suggestions made in the article will go a long way in easing the burden of proving foreign law in Nigeria.

Keywords: Foreign Law, Opinion Evidence, Nigerian Law.

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/99-02

Publication date:July 31st 2020

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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