December, 2023 - Oluwaseun Philip-Idiok, Rebecca Ebokpo, Nahimat Yusuf



The Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023 (the Amended Act) was signed into Law by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the 12th day of June 2023.

The Amended Act was aimed at amending the provisions of the Evidence Act 2011 (the Principal Act) to be in conformity with global technological advancements in evidence taking and its applicability covers all judicial proceedings before Courts in Nigeria.

The Amended Act is divided into 11 sections, and it amended 8 sections of the Principal Act.

Changes Introduced by the Amended Act

Introduction of Electronic Records[1]

Electronic Record as defined in the Amended Act means data, record or data generated image or sound stored, received, or sent in an electronic form or microfilm.

The Amended Act expands the requirement for admissibility of computer-generated evidence to include electronic records as defined. This is in line with global standards.

Admissibility of information in an electronic form[2]

The Amended Act has introduced provisions that allow any information statutorily required to be in writing, typewritten, or printed to be admissible if it is made available in an electronic form and subsequently accessible. This addition ensures that documents required by law to exist in physical form will also be admissible in electronic form, provided that the electronic format meets the requirements provided in the Act.

Furthermore, such documents in electronic form shall be admissible in any proceeding before all courts in Nigeria without the need for further proof or production of the original.

Introduction of Digital Signature[3]

In the Amended Act, a Digital Signature is defined as an electronically generated signature which is attached to an electronically transmitted document to verify its contents and the sender’s identity.

The Amended Act now enables individuals to authenticate electronic records using their digital signatures, in accordance with an electronic authentication technique which is considered reliable or as specified by the Act.


Reliability of Digital Signature or Electronic authentication technique[4]

The Amended Act establishes criteria for ensuring the reliability of a digital signature or an electronic authentication technique. These criteria encompass the following aspects:- that the signature or technique is within the context in which it is used and linked to the signatory or authenticator and no other person, that any alteration made to the digital signature after affixing such signature is detectable and that any alteration to the information made after its authentication by the digital signature is detectable.

Recognition of electronic affidavit[5]

The Amended Act now acknowledges affidavits deposed to electronically, provided they are sworn before an appropriately authorized individual, and subject to the condition that such affidavit is subsequently filed in Court.

Introduction of audio-visual deposition[6]

Audio-visual communication has been defined in the Amended Act to mean being able to see, hear and communicate with another individual in real time using electronic means. The Amended Act amends the Principal Act by permitting individuals to depose to affidavits via audio-visual means before any duly authorized officer. Notably, these audio-visual affidavits are now admissible in all courts in Nigeria.

Electronic Jurat[7]

Section 119 of the Principal Act which outlines the procedure for admissibility of jurats has now been amended. An additional paragraph (ba) has now been inserted after paragraph (b).

This paragraph provides for the admissibility of electronic depositions of jurats. It stipulates that if an affidavit is taken via audio-visual means, the electronic record must specify the method of audio-visual communication employed and the corresponding date of its use.


Introduction of Electronic Gazette[8]

Electronic Gazette is defined in the Amended Act to mean an official gazette published in the electronic form. This now ensures that any rule, regulation, notification, or any other matter required by law to be published in the Federal Government gazette is deemed to have been fulfilled if same is filed in the Federal Government Gazette or Electronic Gazette.

Inclusion of new words to the Interpretation Section[9]

The Amended Act amends the interpretation section of the Principal Act to incorporate the definition of terms introduced within the Act and terms that were not previously defined such as audio-visual communication, cloud computing, computer, digital signature, electronic gazette, electronic record, electronic signature, magnetic media and optical media.


In summary, the Amended Act marks a significant shift toward adapting the Nigerian trial administration system to the digital age. It introduces vital changes, recognizing electronic evidence, clarifying terms, and enabling the use of digital signatures, audio-visual communication, and electronic records in legal proceedings. The Act enhances transparency, accountability, and efficiency, and it broadens the scope of admissible evidence to include electronic data.




[1] Section 2 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[2] Section 3 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[3] Section 3 and 4 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[4] Section 3 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[5] Section 5 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[6] Section 6 and 7 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[7] Section 8 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[8] Section 8 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023

[9] Section 10 of the Evidence Act (Amendment) Act 2023


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