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COURT TO DETERMINE CASE BASED ON THE PLEADINGS

Dictum

There is no gainsaying the settled principle of law to the effect that the Court is bound to determine the case before it, as made out by the pleadings of the parties, particularly the Claimant’s or Plaintiff’s cause of action.

– Tukur JCA. Odulate v. FBN (2019)

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LAW IS NOT NECESSARY TO BE PLEADED IN PLEADINGS

I concede that it is not necessary to plead law before reliance can be placed on it. It is sufficient to plead material facts which will lead to a certain legal result, and once sufficient material facts have been pleaded, the inference to be drawn from such pleaded facts and the particulars of the law to be relied upon for such an inference need not be pleaded. See Vandervell’s Trust (No.2), White v. Vandervell Trustees Ltd. (1974) 3 All E.R. 205 at 213; Anyanwu v. Mhara (1992) 5 NWLR (Pt. 242) 386 at 398 etc.

— Iguh, JSC. Onamade v ACB (1997) – SC.199/1990

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PLEADINGS: LEGAL RESULT OF THE DOCUMENT NEED NOT BE STATED

On issue of whether the respondent should have pleaded the legal effect of the notice of the breach as a fact before it is tendered. This is a clear misconception of the modern rule on pleadings. The strict rigid old legal terminology of pleading have since changed in line with new procedures. The pleader is not bound to state the legal result of a document pleaded or fact pleaded.

– Agim JSC. Pillars v. William (2021)

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PARTY MUST TRAVERSE EACH ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

The law is that each party must traverse specifically each allegation of fact which he does not intend to admit. The party pleading must make it clear how much of his opponent’s case he disputes. The law is notorious that a traverse must not be evasive, but must answer the point of substance. The basic rule of pleading is that a traverse whether by denial or refusal to admit, must not be evasive but must answer the point of substance. The pleader must deal specifically with every allegation of fact made by his opponent: he must either admit it frankly or deny it boldly. Any half-admission or half-denial is evasive.”

— O. Oyebiola, J. Yakubu v. FRCN (2016) – NIC/LA/673/2013

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MATERIAL FACTS ARE WHAT ARE PLEADED NOT EVIDENCE

It is a trite and a resonated principle of our legal jurisprudence, that you plead material facts and not the evidence to be relied upon and the evidence to be relied upon can be tendered in support of those facts.

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

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PARTIES ARE BOUND BY THEIR PLEADINGS

As the parties are adversaries, each one is bound by his case as framed in his pleadings. That being so, the Defendant/Appellant will not be allowed to set up (at the hearing as he did) an entirely different case without any prior amendment to his pleadings: African Continental Seaways Ltd. v. Nigerian Dredging Roads General Works Ltd. (1977) 5 S.C. 235 at p.249.

— Oputa, JSC. Salawu Ajide V. Kadiri Kelani (SC.76/1984, 29 Nov 1985)

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THE EFFECT OF A PARTY’S PLEADING

It is very important to note that it is settled law that in an action based on pleadings issues are joined by the parties in their pleadings. It is also settled law that evidence on facts not pleaded ground to no issue. The existence or non-existence of fact is said to be in issue if the existence or non-existence of that fact is asserted by a party in his pleading and denied by the other party specifically, positively, and unequivocally.

– Onnoghen JSC. Dalek v. OMPADEC (2007)

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