Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

CLAIM DETERMINES IF AN ORIGINATING SUMMONS IS APPROPRIATE

Dictum

From the above therefore, the first duty of a trial judge, where action are begun or initiated by means of an originating summons procedure, is to examine the claim before him, and then to ascertain whether the procedure in originating summons was suitable or appropriate to the action. This first step, is sine qua-non to his assuming jurisdiction on the matter.

– Bage JCA. Ayetobi v. Taiwo (2014)

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

COMMENCING BY ORIGINATING SUMMONS OR BY WRIT OF SUMMONS

As demonstrated above, Originating Summons is, particularly, employed in commencing a suit when what is in dispute is the mere construction of documents or interpretation of law in respect of which pleadings are unnecessary or where there is no real dispute as to facts between the parties, G. F. Harwood, Odger’s Principles of Pleadings and Practice in Civil Actions (Twentieth Ed) (New Delhi – India: Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, 2010) 352; F. Nwadialo, Civil Procedure in Nigeria (Lagos: University of Lagos Press, 2000) 211; Arjay Ltd and Ors v A. M. S. Ltd (2003) LPELR -555 (SC) … The situation is different in a suit commenced by Writ of Summons where the facts are regarded as holding a pride of place and the fountain head of the law in the sense that the facts lead to a legal decision on the matter. That is not the position in proceedings commenced by Originating Summons, where facts do not play a central role but an infinitesimal role. On the distinction between Originating Summons and Writ of Summons, see the following cases: Dapianlong v. Dariye (supra); Keyamo v. House of Assembly, Lagos State [2002] 18 NWLR (pt. 799) 605; Director, SSS v. Agbakoba [1999] 3 NWLR (pt. 595) 314; Famfa Oil Ltd v. Attorney-General, Federation and Anor [2003] 18 NWLR (pt. 852) 453; Inakoju v. Adeleke (supra); and Attorney-General, Adamawa State and Ors v. Attorney-General, Federation and Ors (2005) LPELR- 602 (SC).

— C.C. Nweze, JSC. APC v. Sheriff (2023) – SC/CV/1689/2022

Was this dictum helpful?

ORIGINATING SUMMONS NOT FOR CONTENTIOUS FACTS

The practice is usually that originating summons is not a proper procedure where contentious issues of fact are to be resolved by the court.

– AKA’AHS, J.S.C. Danladi v. Dangiri (2014)

Was this dictum helpful?

ABSENCE OF SIGNATURE OF A JUDGE IN AN ORIGINATING SUMMONS

Although I do not agree with learned counsel to the respondents in his submission that absence of the signature of a Judge in an originating summons is a mere technicality, I think it is correct to say that the defect did not render the originating summons a nullity. Where the non-compliance with the rules is on the part of the court, the defect is merely administrative and did not render the originating summons or proceedings consequent thereto a nullity.

— Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Saude v. Abdullahi (1989) – SC.197/1987

Was this dictum helpful?

IF NO SUBSTANTIAL DISPUTE THEN ORIGINATING SUMMONS SHOULD BE USED

It is clear from the above that an action could be brought by originating summons if the issues involved are not in dispute or in controversy or not likely to be in dispute or in controversy. Putting it negatively, where the issues are in dispute or are contentious, an originating summons procedure will not lie. In such a situation, the party must initiate the action by a writ of summons, a procedure which accommodates pleadings of facts. An action could be brought by originating summons where the sole or principal question in issue is or is likely to be one of construction of a statute, or of any instrument made under a statute or of any deeds, will, contract, or other document or some other question of law. It is not the law that once there is dispute on facts, the matter should be commenced by writ of summons. No. That is not the law. The law is that the dispute on facts must be substantial, material, affecting the live issues in the matter. Where disputes are peripheral, not material to the live issues, an action can be sustained by originating summons. After all, there can hardly be a case without facts. Facts make a case and it is the dispute in the facts that give rise to litigation.

— Niki Tobi JSC. Pam & Anor. V Mohammed (2008) – SC.238/2007

Was this dictum helpful?

ORIGINATING SUMMONS AND AFFIDAVITS

In this appeal, the main action was commenced by way of Originating Summons. Under this procedure, pleadings are not filed nor witnesses called. It is, generally, heard on affidavit evidence deposed to in support and in opposition, with documents exhibited, Famfa Oil Ltd v. Attorney-General, Federation and Anor [2003] LPELR-1239 (SC); JEV and Anor v. Iyortyom and Ors[2014] LPELR-23000 (SC); Zakirai v. Muhammmad and Ors [2017] LPELR- 42349 (SC). As earlier stated, in deciding an interlocutory application, a Court should endeavor to limit itself to the dispositions made in the affidavit evidence before it. Thus, having regard to the nature of the originating process, and there being nothing but documentary evidence placed before the lower Court, the lower Court was in a good position to examine the entire affidavit evidence and the other documents placed before the trial Court in determining whether the ruling of the trial Court with regards to the preliminary objection was correct, Chief Agbaisi and Ors v Ebikorefe and Ors [1997] 4 SCNJ 147, 160; Agbahomovo and Ors v. Eduyegbe and Ors. [1999] 3 NWLR (pt. 594) 170; Jikantoro and Ors, v. Dantoro and Ors. [2004] 5 SCNJ 152, 177; Agbareh and Anor v. Mimrah and Ors, [2008] LPELR-43211 (SC).

— C.C. Nweze, JSC. Uzoho v NCP (SC.141/2007, Friday, May 13, 2022)

Was this dictum helpful?

REASON FOR LEAVE TO BE OBTAINED BEFORE ISSUE OF ORIGINATING SUMMONS TO BE SERVED OUTSIDE JURISDICTION

In my opinion it makes for a better understanding and application of our rules to appreciate the raisons d’etre which underlie their prescription. In this regard, the raison d’etre of the rule that leave should be obtained before the issue of an originating summons to be served out of the jurisdiction of the court is well put in Halsbury’s Laws of England (Vol. 37) (4th Edition) at para 171 as follows: ‘Service out of the jurisdiction is recognised as the exercise by the English court of judicial power over a foreigner who owes no allegiance to the United Kingdom or over a person who is resident or domiciled out of the jurisdiction, but is nevertheless called upon to contest claims made against him in England and Wales. However, it is generally accepted that, in accordance with the comity of nations, each nation is entitled, in circumstances permitted by its own laws, to exercise judicial power over persons in other countries; but, of course, the exercise of such sovereign power by the issue and service of judicial process over persons in another country is prima facie an infringement of the sovereignty of the other country.

— O. Ayoola, JSC. Carribean v NNPC (2002) – SC.74/1993

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.