Reforming Class Actions in Nigeria
: Lessons from the Oil Fields

  • Ahmed Mahdi Abubakar

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The representative rule is one of definite doctrine. It has its forebears in the Court of Chancery. Chancery formulated the rule as a flexible tool of convenience. Through representation, one person can sue on behalf of many others. This simplicity has spawned whole treatises. Their premise is simple. Representative proceedings are problematic. The rules’ procedural requirements were an obstacle. The story is true in most jurisdictions. This thesis is a study of the Nigerian representative rule. The thesis revolves around three central themes.
First, it tells the story of representative actions. In Chapter 1, the thesis traces the historical context and purpose of representative actions. Then, it argued that representative proceedings are best suited for the litigation of group rights. In Chapter 2, the thesis argued that the simplicity of the Nigerian representative rule is only superficial. There are crucial questions that the rule has failed to address. However, these issues were not unique and unparalleled to Nigeria. This argument was situated in Chapters 1 and 3. The issues are replete in most jurisdictions.
Second, the thesis argued that crafting common law class actions from the representative rule is not feasible. In Chapters 1 and 3, the thesis argued that although both procedures strive for the same goal, they differ technically. In Chapters 2 and 3, the thesis explains that treating representative actions as class actions raises questions that do not apply to the representative rule. Third, the thesis argued for introducing class actions in Nigeria through legislation. In Chapter 4, the thesis set out five principles Nigeria should consider in its reform efforts. The thesis concluded that implementing these five principles would restore access to justice in Nigeria.
Date of Award20 Sept 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorShubhankar Dam (Supervisor) & Munir Maniruzzaman (Supervisor)

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