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The rule of natural justice are the rule laid down by the court for the propose of protecting the right of an individual against adoption of arbitrary and as well as miscarriage of justice in determining questions affecting the right of an individual by a judicial authority. The nature of the principle of natural justice is flexible they tend to change with the exigencies of time and circumstance of each case. However, natural justice is express by the twin pillar principles; Audi Alteram Partem (hear both sides in dispute), and Nemo Judex in Casua Sua (no one should be a judge in his own cause). So therefore, the decision maker or deciding authority should act in good faith and give a fair hearing to both parties in dispute, he should not act in favour of one party. If he knows that he cannot be impartial, he should politely decline sit in judgment over the matter, this is because the rule of natural justice prohibits interest and bias in the case of a judge. In the cause of the primary and secondary source of this research work, I will discuss on the following, the history of the rule of natural justice, the origin and development of the rule of natural justice, the application of the rule of natural justice both in united states Britain and Nigeria, the rule of natural justice in the administrative bodies, violation of the rule of natural justice, legal consequence and implications if the rule of natural justice is not followed and the exclusion of the rule of natural justice etc. 


A.K. Kraipak v. Union of Indian A.I.R  S.C 150 (1970)

Adedeji v. Police Service Commission NMLR 102(1968)

Adigun v. A.G of Oyo State & 18 ors 2 All ER (1987) 

Adigun v. AG Lagos State 1NWLR pt. 53 p.678 at 72 (1987)

Aiyetan v. Nigerian Institute for Oil palm Research (NIFOR) 6 SCNJ 36(1987)

Baba v. Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre 7 SCNJ15 (1987)    

Baker v. Canada Minister of Citizenship and Immigration 2 ER 1817 (1999)

Bamigboye v. University of Illorine & ors CA/K/26370 Delivered on 14, 05, 91 pg 44-45

Board of Education v. Rice A.C 179 (1911)

Board of High School v. Ghanshyam AIR SC 1110 (1962)

Capel v. Child 2 cromp & Jer. 558 (1832)

Cooper v. Wandsworth Board of Works 14 CBNS 180 (1863)

Cottle v. Cottle 129 W.Va. 344 (W. Va. 1946) (1939)

Denloye v. Medical and Dental Practitioner Disciplinary Tribunal 1 All NLR 306 (1968)

Dimes v. Grand Junction Canal Proprietors 3 H.L. cas.759, 10 ER 301 (1852)

Ex p. Parker (  1953) 2 All ER Franklin v. mi; of town & country planning (1948) AC 87

Furnal v. Whangaral High School 2 WLR 92 (1973)

Garga & ors v. The University of Maiduguri 1 NWLR 550 (1986)

Gullapavi Neges War Rao v. APSRTC 29 August Indian kannon (1959)

Jaco Geri & Ors V. Hadejia Native Authority 4 FSC 44 (1959)

Jeejeebhoy v. Asst Collector, Theina AIR SC 1096 (1965)

Kanu Native Authority v. Obiora Ademola 13 WACA 270 at 274 (1951)

Knight v. Indian Head School Division No. 9 1 S.C.R. 653 SS. Canada (1990)

LNM Institution of Economic Development v. State of Bihar AIR SC 1136 (1988)

Maneka v. Gardhis AIR SC 597 at 681 (1978)

Metropolitan Properties Co Ltd v. Lannan 3 All BR 304 (1998)  

Nakkuda A. H. V. Jayaratne AC.66 (9531)

Nawabkhan v. State of Gujarai AIR SC 147 (1974)

Nicholson v. Haldimond Norfolk Regional Municipality 1 SCR 311 (1979)

Punton v. Ministry of Pension 1 All ER 448 (1964)

 Queens v. Smith Ex parte and Harris 16 QBD 614

R. V. Director of Audit (Western Region) & Ors v Ex Parte Oputa & Ors All NLR 659 (1961)

R. v. Electricity commissioners Ex Parte Electricity joint committee 1 KB 171(1924)

R. v. Frankland Prison Visitors Ex Parte Lewis 1 All ER 272 (1986)    

R. v. Legislative Committee of Church Assembly Ex Parte Hynes-Smith (1928)

R. v. Manchester Metropolitan University Ex Parte Nolan 14 (1993)

R. v. Sussex Justice, Ex Parte Mc Carthy 1 KB 256 All ER Rep. 233 (1924)

Re Pergamon Press Ltd p.205 (1920)

Re. v. Hk (1967) 2 QB 617 (1967) 1 All ER 226, (1967) 2 WLR 962

Ridge v. Baldwin All ER 63 (1963)

Shiri Sitaram Sugar Company v. Union of India (1990) 3 SCC 223

State of U.P v. Muhammad Nooh AIR SC 86 (1958)

Surest Koshy George v. University of Kerala AIR SC 198 (1969)

Udekwe Okakpu v. Resident of Plateau Province  NRNLR 5 (1958)

Union of India v. Cyanamida of India Ltd 2 SCC 720 & 735(1987)

Union of India v. J.N Sinha AIR SC 40(1971)

Union of Indian v. Tulsiram Petal AIR SC 1416 (1985)

Voinett v. Barrett 55 IJOB 39 at 41(1885)

Ward v. Bradford (1971) 70 LGR. 27


Bomby police Act 1951

The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (C.F.R.N) (as amended)

The Indian Administrative procedure Act 1946

The Constitution of India 1968

The National Insurance Act 1946


A. C – Appeal Case

A. E. R – All English Report

A. I. R. – All India Report

A.P.S.R.T – Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport

All B. R – All Bankruptcy

All N. L. R – All Nigerian Law Report

C.F.R.N – Constitution of the Federal

C.L.R – Common Wealth Law Report

C.R – Criminal Report

E R – English Report

F. S. C. Selected Judgment of the Federal Supreme Court

H. C (K.B). – High Court of Kings Bench

I.S.L.N – International Standard Lawyer Number

K. B. – Law Report Kings Bench

L.G.R. – Local Government Region

N. M. L. R – Nigerian Monthly Law Report

N. R. N. L. R. – Northern Region of Nigeria Law Report

N. W. L. R – Nigerian Weekly Law Report

N.I.F.O.R – Nigerian Institute for Oil palm Research

N.S.C.C.R – Nigerian Supreme Court Cases Report

Q. B – Queens Bench

Q. B. D – Queens Bench Division

R – Respondent

S C R – Supreme Court Reports

S. C. – Judgment of Supreme Court

S. C. C. – Supreme Court of Canada

S. C. N. J. – Supreme Court of Nigeria Judgment

W L R – Weekly Law Report

W. A. C.A – West African Court of Appeal

W. Va. Code – West Virginia code



1.1.            Background of the Study

The concept of natural justice is as old as man; it is the universal principle of fairness that was arrived at by the observation of nature. It is the name of the divine law as God would have us understand it; which is the Golden rule. Thus, the principle of natural justice is also seen to be as old as God’s judgments. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating of the fruit of knowledge, God himself who created all things, has all powers, knows everything gave Adam and Eve the opportunity to state their defence. God asked, “Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat”? Adam replied, “the woman whom thou gavest to be with me gave me of the tree and I did eat”, God asked the woman, what is this that thou hast done? And Eve replied, the serpent beguiled me and I did eat”. Having heard both Adam and Eve and their defences, the Almighty God proceeded to pass judgment.1

However, natural justice is classified in two components - the hearing rule and the bias rule. It has been developed in the early seventeenth, eighteenth and twentieth century through many historical decisions. In our democratic country today, the principle of natural justice has been enshrined in Nigeria

1.    Genesis 3 vs. 11b – 13

constitution 1999 (as amended). Similarly same is recognised is Australia, United Kingdom and many other countries.  Natural justice is the term that states the specific procedural rule in the English legal system2 and other nation based on it. It is similar to the American concept of fair hearing procedure and procedural due process. The later has the roots to some process, degree parallels the origins of natural justice3. Moreover, natural justice is said to impress the close relationship between common law and moral principle4. The use of the terms today is not to be confusing with the natural law of the canonist, the medieval philosophers, and natural right philosophy of the eighteenth century5. The term natural justice is often retained as a general concept in Australia6 and the United Kingdom7, it has been largely been placed and extended which is the duty to act fairly.

Natural justice is identified with two Latin maxims which are: Nemo Judex in causa sua (no one should be a judge in his own cause), and Audi Altreram Partem (hear both sides in dispute). The requirement of natural justice

2.             Fredrick F. Shaver (1976), English Natural Justice and American Due Process: An Analytical Comparison William and Law Review, 18(1):47- 72 @ 47.

3.             See generally Bernard Schwartz (1953) administrative procedure and natural law, Notre dame lawyer28 (2): 169, cited in Shauer English natural justice and American due process. p. 51, n. 24

4.             Arthur l. Good hart (1953) English law and the moral law (PDF) London: Stevens P 65. Cited in De smiths judicial Review P. 321.

5.             J.R.S Forbs (2006) natural justice: General, justice in tribunals (2nd Ed.) Sydney: the federation press, pp. 100 – 118 @ 103, ISBN 9781-86287 – 610.

6.             See, for instance kioa v. west (1985) 159 CLR 550@ 583, high court Australia.

7.             De smith judicial review, P.320.

or a duty to act fairly depends on these contexts8.

In Baker v. Canada minister of citizenship and immigration,9 the supreme court of Canada set out the list of non-exhaustive factors that would influence the content of the duty of fairness including the nature of the decision being made and the process followed in making it, the statutory scheme under which the decision maker operates and the importance of the decision to the person challenging it. The persons legitimate expectation and the choice of procedure maybe the decision maker10. Earlier, in knight v. Indian head school division,11 the Supreme Court held that public authorities which make decisions of a legislative and general nature do not have a duty to act fairly, while those that carry out the acts of administrative and specific nature do.

Furthermore, preliminary decisions generally will not trigger the duty to act fairly but decisions of a more financial nature may have such an effect.12 In addition, whether the duty to act fairly applies, depends on the relationship between the public authority and the individual. No duty exists where the relationship is one of both master and servant or where the individual holds

8.             De smith judicial review, p.322.

9.             1999.2 S.C.R.817. supreme court of (Canada)

10.          Kioa PP. 585; “what is appropriation terms of natural justice depends the circumstance of the case and they will include inter alia, the nature of inquiry, the subject matter and the rules under which a decision maker is acting.

11.          No.9 (1990) 1 S.C.R. 653, S.S (Canada).

12.          Baker pares. 23-28.

office at the pleasure of the authority. On the other hand, a duty to act fairly exists where the individual cannot be removed from office except for cause.13 Finally a right to a procedural fairness only exist when authorities’ decision is significant and has an important impact on the individual.14

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