In any society, even more so in a democratic one, the judiciary is indispensable for the impartial administration of justice. The judicial system of Nigeria is founded upon a number of interrelated principles, the foremost of which is the rule of law, which is needed to restrict arbitrary government power. Judicial immunity is indispensable for an independent and virile judiciary. It is against this backdrop that this paper explores the nexus between the doctrine of judicial immunity, judicial independence and the maintenance of the rule of law. It seeks to answer the question whether judicial immunity is absolute or qualified. In view of the fact that judicial misconduct has increasingly become the subject of public and legal scrutiny, the paper further interrogates the issue whether, under the doctrine of judicial immunity, today, judicial officers are in any way accountable and under what circumstances? In discussing judicial immunity and seeking to provide an answer to the question whether judicial officers are sacred cows, cognisance is taken of judicial responsibility as the jural opposite of judicial immunity in Hohfedian sense of fundamental legal conception.
Authors: A. D. Badaiki