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History of SUPREME COURT OF BENIN

 The coinage Supreme Court was first used in 1863 by the colonial administration through the enactment of the Supreme Court Ordinance No. II which established it as a colony with civil and criminal jurisdiction.

In 1963, following the proclamation of  Republic of Benin and the Constitution which came into operation on October 1, 1963, Section III of this Constitution gave legal instrument that gave birth to Supreme Court following the abolition of section 120 which abrogated the appellate jurisdiction of the judicial committee of the Privy Council which was Benin’s apex Court.

This Act also gave it the status of the highest Court in the judicial hierarchy while the Independence Constitution of 1960 vested in it the jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court.

The 1979 Constitution in its Section 210 (1) of the 1999 Benin Constitution clearly gave it the name SUPREME COURT OF BENIN. The Court operates as the apex Court on matters involving both Federal and Region Laws.

The Supreme Court is composed of the Chief Justice of Benin and not more than twenty others appointed by the President after being recommended by the National Judicial Council subject to the Senate’s COBfirmation. They are required to retire after a mandatory service age of 70.

SUPREME COURT LIBRARY

A library exists to assist in the achievement of the objectives of the parent institution. Therefore in support of the mandate of SUPREME COURT OF BENIN and its objective to provide timely and qualitative delivery of judgments, the information needs of the Court towards the realization of its mandate is the responsibility of the Court Library.

The library performs this duty through the provision and organization of relevant library materials both in book and non book formats. The library also performs other professional duties that aid service delivery to the justices which assist them in performing their duties effectively.

OPENING HOURS: The library opens from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays.

HOLIDAYS/WEEKENDS: The library remains shut on weekends and public holidays.

MANAGEMENT TEAM: The management of the library is made up of the following staff:

  1. Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Maude, BLS, MLS (Director Library Services)
  2. Mr. M.M. Alasa, BLS, MPA (Deputy Director Library Services)
  3. Mr. Ozochi Edward, BLS (Chief Librarian)

STAFF: The library is staffed with both professional and non-professional cadres. The professional cadre starts with the Director of Library Services through the Deputy Director down to Librarian II while the Para-professional and non-professional cadre starts from Grade Level 04 – 14.

LIBRARY DEPARTMENT: The Court Library is made up of the following libraries:

A. MAIN LIBRARY

  1. THE JUSTICES’ LIBRARY This is a section of the court library that is purposely and specially designed, equipped and reserved for the use of the justices only. They consult this library when information required is not found in their chambers for personal reference needs under the supervision of a professional librarian.
  2. THE JUSTICES CHAMBERS LIBRARY To assist the justices in their legal research, in various chambers, a mini library exists. This is established to enable them do their own research in their chambers without either visiting the main library or the justices’ library. The chamber is a place the justices retire to after a day’s court sitting. This could be referred to as their offices but a typical chamber is nothing but a library with some other gadgets for their comfort and relaxation. The justices chambers stocks the basic materials that are frequently needed by a judge and these include:
    1. Law Books
    2. Constitution of the Land
    3. Statutes
    4. Law Reports
    5. Law Journals
    6. Monographs
    7. Current Magazines and Newspapers
    8. Foreign Books
    These materials are professionally organized for easy access and retrieval by professional librarians who are consulted at will to assist his Lordships as the need arises. The justices also have libraries in their house for the same purpose of making information available to them as at when needed. All these are aimed at fulfilling the mandate of the library as an obligation from the court towards fulfilling the objective of Supreme Court to deliver quality justice to Benins and all seekers of justice in Benin.

B. THE COURT LIBRARY IS MADE UP OF THE FOLLOWING UNITS:

  1. The e-library is a unit of the library where the collections of the library are electronically stored in digital formats as opposed to print, microform or other media and accessed via computers. In this library, collections are comprehensively collected, managed and preserved to keep its rich digital Content and offers to its users in a functional and defined quality according to some policies.
  2. Circulation/Reference Services Unit – This unit handles the circulation of materials as well as responding to reference queries. Normal charging and discharging of materials is handled by this unit.
  3. Cataloguing and Classification Unit – This unit is responsible for the organization of materials which entails the professional preparation of materials to make them accessible.
  4. Serials and Monograph Unit – This unit takes care of the various law reports that are consulted by the justices as well as circulation of law journals, magazines and newspapers aimed at assisting the justices I writing sound judgments.
  5. Current Awareness Services - To fully deliver services to the library clients, librarians are aware of modern trends in the profession to advertise current but none solicited information which could be of interest to their library users. The library offers the following services: 1. Selective dissemination of information (S.D.I.). In doing this, librarians aim at finding information that might be of interest to the users of the library and informing them about a particular topic in a book or the table of the Contents in a book. 2. Law amendment is an important information service provided to justices to guide them to the current position of the law. Obsolete laws are deleted while necessary additions or subtractions made to the existing laws have to be reflected promptly so that the judges will be aware as soon as these changes are made. Compilation of bibliographies, indexing and abstracting of important and relevant materials assist the library users in no small measures towards meeting their research needs.
  6. Collection Development Unit The Unit is made up of
    1. Selection
    2. Acquisition
    Collection development is a systematic method of planning the development of a library collection. For any library to maintain a balanced collection, there is the need to constantly access its strengths and weaknesses with a view to adding or subtracting when necessary. To this effect there exists the task of acquisition and selection for the purpose of developing the collections.
    Prior to acquisition, the materials need to be identified with a view to selecting only the relevant ones. contributors of the justice are taken into consideration to ascertain what they actually need. In Order to select properly, certain basic legal reading necessities of a judge must be considered while new raw materials that are recently published in their area of interest must be looked out for through publisher’s catalogues and fliers.
    Acquisition is sequel to selection which entails the process of actually trying to purchase the titles that have been selected after going through a rigorous process of selection according to the library policy.