Structure of the Court
At the helm of affairs of the Court is the President. Section 1(2) (a) of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006, provides that the court shall consist of the President of the court who shall have overall control and supervision of the administration of the Court.
Section 2(5) provides that if the office of the President of the court is vacant, or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and assumed the functions of that office or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the President (of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) shall appoint the most senior Judge of the court having the qualification to be appointed as President of the court as provided under subsection (3) of this section to perform those functions. Section 1(2)(b) provides that the Court shall consist of not less than twelve Judges. So, in the Judicial Cadre of the court are the President and the Judges.
There are five departments that have been created for administrative purposes. They function under the direct supervision of the Chief Registrar of the court. Statutorily, the Chief Registrar is seised of custody of the records of the court and exercises such other functions as are assigned to him/her by the Rules of Court and the President who has overall control and supervision and administration of the court. The departments of the court are as follows: Personnel; Litigation; Finance and Accounts; Procurement and Stores; and Library.
Under the Personnel department are the following sections: Appointment/Promotions/Disciplinary Section, Establishment/Pensions Section; Training and Development Section; Industrial Relations Section and Welfare Section. The functions of the Personnel Department include recruitment, selection and placement of personnel in the court; career and performance management; reward and compensation; training and development; industrial relations; preparation of personnel budget; retirement, disengagement and pension processes.
The actual staff strength of the court is 345 comprising 30 management staff; 75 middle level (senior) staff and 240 junior staff. The cadre of officers in the National Industrial Court include the Registrar, Assistants Registrars, Administrative Officers, Accountants, Librarian, Medical Officers, Pharmacists, Stores Officer, Executive Officers, Engineers, Technical Officers, Nurses, Confidential Secretaries, Library Officers, Procurement Officers, Laboratory Technologist, Estate Officers, Clerical Officers and Typists. Presently, the judicial officers of the court comprise the President and four Judges. Section 1(2) (b) of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006, provides that the court shall consist of not less than twelve Judges.
To make the court more effective, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved the appointment of four additional Judges to the Court in the first instance. Now 6 judges have been appointed to make up the minimum number required by the Act.
The Litigation Department is made up of the Registry, Bailiff, Dispatch, Receiving Desk, Pending Cases, Achieves and Appeals Sections. The functions of the Litigation Department include processing of all documents filed in court by litigants, service of these processes on parties to each case, preparation of court processes and filing of same in the relevant/appropriate files for the judges’ attention and necessary action, administration of oaths on litigants and witnesses in court, processing of appeals, preparation of records of proceedings and copies of judgments, etc. Any person or a representative of a trade union or employers’ organization who has a cause of action relating to labour, including trade union matters or industrial relations, can file it in court for determination. Out of the seventy cases filed between 2003 and 2006, twenty two have been decided.
Finance and Accounts
The Finance and Accounts department is made up of nine sections namely Funds; Central Pay Office; Recurrent Expenditure; Capital Expenditure, Checking; Salary; Sub-Account; Bank Reconciliation and Final Account Sections. The Department processes the monthly recurrent expenditure allocations received from the National Judicial Council to the various sub-heads of the vote book, ensures that the Court Account on capital expenditure with the Central Bank of Nigeria is credited with quarterly allocations, conducts checks and balances on all payment documents, prepares monthly salaries for payment to staff through their banks, verifies contract bills, claims and other payment documents; raises payment vouchers and issues cheques accordingly; renders monthly returns of the bank reconciliation, transcripts, returns of expenditure, revenue returns and other information required by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General of the Federation and the National Judicial Council.
Procurement and Stores Department
The Procurement and Stores Department is made up of three sections namely Procurement Section, Stores Section and Maintenance Section. The functions of the Department include acquisition of stores/supplies, handling and storage of stores/supplies, issue of stores, progression of stores issued, periodic verification of stock balances, maintenance of stock and conduct of market surveys.
Library Services: The Library is one of the five departments of the National Industrial Court. It exists to provide information support and other ancillary services towards the administration of justice.