UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The quest for development in chaos : what crisis events reveal about Nigeria’s legal system Olarewaju, Temitayo


The relationship between law and economic development continues to perplex generations of scholars. This thesis adds to the query by embracing the iterative relationship between legal systems and markets as postulated by Milhaupt and Pistor; thereby, departing from law and finance theory which argues that past adopted legal systems are crucial for economic development. Law and finance theory is criticized based on the causal and proxy indeterminacy of law in achieving economic development, its discrepancies with corporate law practice, and various incoherent claims on juries and law in the twenty-first century. Milhaupt and Pistor’s framework grounded on the organization of a nation’s legal system, the functions of law in support of capitalist activity, and a state’s political economy embodying the supply and demand of law is used to understand how law is wielded in Africa’s giant quest for development. Institutional autopsies are conducted on pivotal corporate governance crisis events in Nigeria’s financial and petroleum sectors—Nigeria’s 2009-2010 banking crisis and the case of Moni Pulo v Brass—to understand Nigeria’s legal system and likely path to variation. Nigeria is revealed to be a centralized legal system, where the principal role of law is to coordinate market activity and one in which personal relationships play a vital part in her governance structure. The autopsies show there is a growing role played by state approved actors resulting in increased centralized and coordinative features of Nigeria’s legal system. It is hoped that this work assists in understanding the dynamic relationship between law and economic development in developing economies and serves as a foundation for future research on Nigeria’s political economy.

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