A Critical Appraisal Of Legitimacy And Legitimization Under Nigeria Family Law

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A Critical Appraisal Of Legitimacy And Legitimization Under Nigeria Family Law


This long essay is concerned with the concept of legitimacy, which is an important concept, as it determines the status of a child in relation to the society, while a legitimate child is conferred with the rights and duties of a legitimate child, which includes right to maintenance, succession among other rights, an illegitimate child is denied of these right by virtue of the fact of his illegitimate birth and he remain so, until and unless he is legitimated either by the subsequent marriage of the parents, or by acknowledgement of paternity by the father, the absence of which the child will be regarded as an illegitimate child, with the resultant social discrimination that will be melted out on him by members of the larger society.

This essay is therefore poised to giving a voice to illegitimate children in the society, by examining the concept itself, and the discrimination which an illegitimate child is being faced with; it examines the ways of legitimating an illegitimate child, in order to remove the discrimination, so that he will be accorded with the same status as a legitimate child.

  • Chapter one gives a general introduction of the work, it traces the origin of illegitimacy which appearances can be seen in the Holy Bible and the Holy Qu’ran,and which also dates back to our traditional societies, where an illegitimate child is seen more or less like a social outcast, and is treated like the child of nobody, it also discusses all the variables necessary to fully appreciate the concept, while
  • Chapter two talked about the concept of legitimacy under both customary and English law, it discusses the importance of a legitimate status, it also discusses illegitimacy, and the need to legitimize an illegitimate child, in other to remove the social stigma attached to that status.
  • legitimization was specifically discussed in chapter three, which can either be by the subsequent marriage of the parents of the child which can either be by statutory law, or by customary law, and the necessary conditions which must be met, Acknowledgement of paternity as a means of legitimation was also discussed with the condition precedent before a child will be said to have been acknowledged by the father
  • Chapter four discusses the effect of legitimation on an otherwise illegitimate child, which includes the rights and the duties of a legitimized child to the parents and the rights and duties of the parents to a legitimated child as when there is a right there must be a corresponding duty.
  • Chapter five which is the concluding part of the work contains the findings of the work and includes the necessary recommendations.

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