Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

BURDEN OF PROOF LIES ON THE PLAINTIFF

Dictum

The general rule in civil cases is that the burden of proof rests upon the party who substantially assert the affirmative before the evidence is gone into. Therefore, the burden of proof lies on the person who will fail assuming no evidence had been adduced on either side…Where the plaintiff as in this case, pleads and relies on negligence by conduct or action of the defendant, the plaintiff must prove by evidence the conduct or action and the circumstances of its occurrence, which give rise to the breach of the duty of care owed the plaintiff. And that it is only after this, that the burden shifts to the defendant to adduce evidence to challenge negligence on his part.

– Shuaibu JCA. Diamond Bank v. Mocok (2019)

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

WHAT IS PROOF IN LAW

Proof in law, is a process by which the existence of facts is established to the satisfaction of the Court, see Section 121 of the Evidence Act, 2011; Olufosoye v. Fakorede (1993) 1 NWLR (Pt. 272) 747; Awuse v. Odili (2005) 16 NWLR (Pt. 952) 416; Salau v. State (2019) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1699) 399. (Pt. 1372) 474; APC v. Karfi (2018) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1616) 479; Ojobo v Moro (2019) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1700) 166.

— O.F. Ogbuinya JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v. Longterm Global Cap. Ltd. & Ors. (September 20 2021, ca/l/1093/2017)

Was this dictum helpful?

BURDEN TO PROVIDE RECORDS OF PENSION IS ON GOVERNMENT

In the case of Registered Trustees of Association of Former Telecom Employees of Nigeria &17,102 Ors. V. Federal Republic of Nigeria & Ors; ECW/CCJ/JUD/20/19, when this court held that: “It follows therefore that once the claimant makes out a prima facie case of entitlement to pension, by proof of employment but lacks access to the key information needed to substantiate his claim same being in the control of Respondent, such claim cannot fail due to being unsubstantiated. It is a recognized fact that salary records and computations matrix are in the normal cause of events in the custody and preserve of the employer in this case the Respondent. The burden to provide records of the pension entitlement of the Applicant having shifted to the Respondent, the Applicants are exonerated from proving their entitlement.”

Was this dictum helpful?

HE WHO ALLEGES MUST PROVE

✓ Para. 25: In Petrostar (Nigeria) Limited V. Blackberry Nigeria Limited & 1 or (2011) CCJELR, the Court in its consideration reiterated the cardinal principle of law that “he who alleges must prove”.

✓ Para. 27: In Front for Liberation of the State Of Cabinda V. Republic Of Angola 5th November 2013, ACHPR, 328/06, 54TH Ordinary Session, where the Plaintiffs brought the application on behalf of the People of Cabinda on alleged violations of Articles 19, 20, 21, 22 and 24 of the African Charter, by infringing on their rights to natural resources, authorizing exploitation activities that did not favor the development of the people of Cabinda and allowing companies to operate in manners that are harmful to the environment and human health. The Commission held that the complainant failed to adduce evidence to support that the people of Cabinda were treated unequally in comparison to other people in Angola in violation of Article 19 of the Charter.

Was this dictum helpful?

APPELLANT MUST SUCCEED ON ITS OWN BRIEF – WHERE RESPONDENT FILED NO BRIEF

An issue may then be raised as to whether the non-filing of the Respondent’s Brief of Argument will make the Appellants appeal to succeed. All the some, the non-filing of the Brief of Argument in respect of this appeal by the Respondent to the issues ventilated by the Appellant in his Brief of Argument does not mean that it is a work-over for the Appellant. The Appellant still has to justify the appeal against the judgment or decision of the Learned trial Judge based on the strength of his case as borne and by the Records of appeal in this matter. The failure of a Respondent to file a reply Brief is immaterial. This is because an Appellant will succeed on the strength of his own case. But a Respondent will be deemed to have admitted the truth of everything stated in the Appellant’s Brief in so far as such is borne out by the Records. In other words, it is not automatic. An Appellant must succeed or fall on his own Brief.

– P.O. Elechi, JCA. Emori v. Egwu (2016) – CA/C/259/2013

Was this dictum helpful?

PLAINTIFF SUCCEEDS ON THE STRENGTH OF HIS CASE

It was the appellants herein as plaintiffs that desired that the trial Court grant the reliefs they claimed for on the basis that the facts they assert in their pleadings exist and it is their case that will fail if they fail to adduce evidence to prove the existence of those facts. They can only secure the favourable Judgment they desire on the strength of their case as established by legal evidence and not on the weakness or absence of a defence. Therefore, the legal burden to prove the said facts upon which the success of their case depends rests squarely on them by virtue of S.s 131, 132 and 133 (1) and (2) of the Evidence Act 2011.

– Agim JSC. APC v. Obaseki (2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

THE TWO FACETS OF BURDEN OF PROOF

The phrase burden of proof in civil cases has two distinct meanings which are; firstly, there is the pleadings, it is the legal burden of proof or the burden of establishing a case. Then secondly, there is the burden of proof in the sense of adducing of evidence, which is described as the evidential burden. The burden of proof in the first sense is always stable, but the burden of proof in the second sense, oscillates and constantly shifts like a chameleon changing its colour, according to how the evidence preponderates on the scale of justice. See the cases of ODUKWE VS OGUNBIYI (1998) LPELR- 2239 PAGE 1 AT 17; (1998) 8 NWLR (PT. 561) 339, ADIGHIJE VS NWAOGU (2010) 12 NWLR (PT. 1209) 119 AT 463 AND OKOYE VS NWANKWO (2014) LPELR-23172 PAGE 1 AT 21; (2014) 15 NWLR (PT. 1429) 93. It is settled law, that in civil cases, the legal burden of proof in the sense of establishing a case lies on the claimant/Petitioner as in this petition, being the person who would fail if no evidence was adduced at all. However, this is not invariably so, as there are circumstances in our adjectival law, when the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. /Respondent as in this petition. See the cases of OSAWARU VS EZEIRUKA (1978) 6-7 SC 135 AT 145, NWAVU VS OKOYE (2008) LPELR-2116 PAGE 1 AT 31, (2008) 18 NWLR (PT. 1118) 29 AND EZEMBA VS IBENEME (2004) LPELR-1205 PAGE 1 AT 20-21. AGAGU & ORS V MIMIKO 2009 LPELR 21149 (CA); BOLAJI & ANOR V INEC & ANOR 2019 LPELR 49447 (CA); SEN JULIUS ALIUCH & 1 OR V CHIEF MARTIN N. ELECHI 7 2 ORS 2012 LPELR -7823 SC PG 43 PARAS B-E.

— A. Osadebay, J. APC v INEC & Ors. (EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023, 20th Day of September, 2023)

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.