An appraisal of the property settlement provisions under the Nigerian Matrimonial Causes Act: lessons from Australia
by Chinedu Justin Efe
International Journal of Private Law (IJPL), Vol. 9, No. 3, 2019

Abstract: This article reflects on the property settlement provisions under Section 72 of the Nigerian Matrimonial Causes Act No. 18 of 1970 Cap M7 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Noting that the said section was adapted from Section 86 of the repealed Australian Matrimonial Causes Act No. 104 of 1959 (Cth), it makes a comparative analysis of both provisions. It makes a finding that there exists a difference in the interpretation and application of the property settlement provisions in both countries. It notes that in Australia, under the repealed act and the extant law [ (the Family Law Act No. 59 of 1975 (Cth) ], there has been a change in emphasis from making property settlement orders only within the purview of spousal maintenance orders to the alteration of property rights. In contrast, Nigerian courts have shown that besides settling property on a spouse as a means of making maintenance orders, they are not empowered to alter the property interests of spouses by way of making a redistribution order. In this light, the article calls for a rethink of the law in Nigeria so as to reflect the true proprietary relationship of spouses on marriage breakdown.

Online publication date: Fri, 22-Feb-2019

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