"A well functioning judiciary is a central element of civil society. It is the sole adjudicator over the political, social and economic spheres. Judiciaries in many African countries suffer from backlogs, delays and corruption. In countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda, speedy resolution of disputes is becoming increasingly elusive. Although many African countries have constitutional provisions against delay, and have identified congestion, excessive adjournments, local legal culture and corruption as some of the major causes of delay, nevertheless, the problem continues to be a feature in African Courts. In Nigeria, the average period to commence and complete litigation is six to ten years. In some instances, the litigation period is even longer. For example, in the case of Ariori v. Muraimo Elemo proceedings commenced in October 1960 and took 23 years to reach the Supreme Court of Nigeria. In South Africa, despite many programs and projects in place to solve the problem, delay in the administration of justice is still a problem. Appraising the extent of the problem, Penuell Maduna addressing the National Judges Symposium stated: “The public is perturbed by substantial backlogs in the criminal courts and in finalising prosecutions...” Mindful of the increase of this problem, especially in view of the consequences it poses, this study perceives a need to eradicate delay in the administration of justice. Thus, this study analyses the problem of delay in Nigerian and South African Courts with a view to ascertaining the nature, extent and causes of delay in the two countries, and suggests possible solutions to the problem. South Africa and Nigeria were chosen because they have similar judicial systems and experience delays in judicial proceedings." -- Chapter 1.
Prepared under the supervision of Mr. Abraham J. Hamman, Faculty of Law, University of Western Cape, South Africa
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2005.