A2Justice Urges National Judicial Council (NJC) to Reform Judicial Recruitment Procedures to ensure Greater Transparency, Openness, Accessibility and Merit in Selection Process

Following the Judicial Reforms Conference held between July 7-9 2014, organized by A2Justice, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Judiciary Committee, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in collaboration with the Performance Evaluation Committee of the National Judicial Council, A2Justice on September 17, 2014 formally submitted a Memorandum to the National Judicial Council (NJC) urging the Council to undertake reforms of current judicial recruitment procedures to ensure greater transparency, openness and objectivity in the judicial selection/appointment process as well as insure that judicial positions are more professionally accessible and vacancies are filled through a more merit-based process.

The Memorandum examines the defects in the current judicial appointment system in Nigeria - such as its lack of transparency, accountability, openness and independence – and juxtaposes Nigeria's current system with contemporary practices in other Commonwealth countries. The Memorandum offers recommendations that would help strengthen the integrity of the judicial appointment system in Nigeria.

Key recommendations made in the Memorandum include:
 • Wide Publication of judicial vacancies
 • Public Hearing on Shortlisted Candidates
 • Fair and objective selection Process, based on clear criteria that are merit based.

The reforms proposed, in our view, will ensure a more transparent process for recruiting the most competent legal resources to judicial office and help rekindle public trust in the Judiciary, as people come to see that procedures of recruitment are transparent and not opaque, merit-based and not favour-based, accessible and not cloistered, and that the safeguard measures are far-reaching enough.

A2Justice' justice reform advocacy is supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).