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COURT WILL SET ASIDE MOTION EX PARTE MADE ON SUPPRESSED FACT – ISSUE OF FAIR HEARING DOES NOT ARISE

Dictum

Further, the Appellant alleged lack of fair hearing, to this I would say that the allegation was not substantiated. It is not enough to waive the flag of lack of fair hearing and nothing more. Fair hearing is a two way traffic which both parties ought to enjoy or entitled to. The Respondent in the present case was entitled to be heard before an order that affects him should be made and having been made ex – parte, the Respondent was entitled to have it reviewed by the trial court after other facts with exhibits in support were made known to the lower court as deposed in the affidavit in support of the application to set aside the ex – parte order before the expiration of the 120 days granted. See, MFA & ORS VS. INONGHA (2014) (supra). If the Appellant had laid down the facts of the case as they were at the time the lower court granted the application, the lower court would not have been misled to have granted the ex – parte order which the court set aside, that led to the present appeal, had the facts not been suppressed the lower court would have arrived at a different decision.

— C.N. Uwa, JCA. FRN v Ozekhome (2021) – CA/L/174/19

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MOTION EX PARTE FOR SUBSTITUTED SERVICE

A motion ex parte is the legitimate process to employ to seek for a Court’s order of substituted service.

– E.A. Agim, J.S.C. Odey v. Alaga (2021) – SC.9/2021

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BASIC CRITERIA & ATTRIBUTES OF FAIR HEARING

There are certain basic criteria and attributes of fair hearing, some of which are relevant in this case. These include: (i) that the court shall hear both sides not only in the case but also in all material issues in the case before reaching a decision which may be prejudicial to any party in the case. See Sheldon v. Bromfield Justices (1964) 2 QB. 573, at p. 578. (ii) that the court or tribunal shall give equal treatment, opportunity and consideration to all concerned. See on this: Adigun v. A.-G., Oyo State and Ors. (1987) 1 NWLR (Pt. 53) 678. (iii) that the proceedings shall be held in public and all concerned shall have access to and be informed of such a place of public hearing and (iv) that having regard to all the circumstances, in every material decision in the case, justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to have been done: R. v. Sussex Justices, ex-parte McCarthy (1924) 1KB 256, at p. 259; Deduwa and Ors. v. Okorodudu (1976) 10 SC 329.

– Ejiwunmi JSC. Unibiz v. Lyonnais (2003)

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FAIR HEARING, NATURAL JUSTICE

Fair hearing within the meaning of section 33(1) of the 1979 Constitution means a trial conducted according to all the legal rules formulated to ensure that justice is done to the parties. It requires the observance of the twin pillars of the rules of natural justice namely a udi alteram partem and nemo judex in causa sua.

– Muhammad JCA. Osumah v. EBS (2004)

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FAILURE TO USE FAIR HEARING OPPORTUNITIES GIVEN

It is settled law that when a party is given the opportunity (and in this case opportunities) to be heard and such party fails to utilize it, such party cannot hide under the umbrella of the fair hearing rule. He will fail. Again, I agree with Olu Daramola (SAN) that the position of the law is that where a party has been afforded the opportunity to be heard (in this case several opportunities) and such party fails to utilize it, the party cannot approach an appellate court and claim to have been denied fair hearing.

– H.M. Ogunwumiju, JCA. ITV v. Edo Internal Revenue (2014) – CA/B/20/2013

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LACK OF FAIR HEARING AND JURISDICTION VITIATES PROCEEDINGS

The proceedings before the Disciplinary Investigation Panel in this case are vitiated from two angles. Firstly the Panel lacked the constitutional and legal competence to undertake the inquiry and arrive at a conclusion that the Appellants were the culprits in serious criminal offences of Arson, Malicious Damage and Indecent Assault. Secondly, the incompetent inquiry which it conducted was further vitiated by its failure to accord the appellants fair hearing either under the rules of natural justice or under the provisions of Section 33 of the 1979 Constitution.

– Oputa, J.S.C. Garba & Ors. v. The University Of Maiduguri (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.18) 550

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THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD CONNOTES AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE REPRESENTATION

Para. 53: “The Court recognizes the principles of Audi alteram partem (hear the other side) which requires that persons affected by an adverse position must be given an opportunity to make representation. The right to be heard by its own nature connotes an opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time by an impartial court or Tribunal. This right is not limited to a one on one verbal representation but encompasses every avenue accorded to a party to be heard in a matter. This Court 18 reiterated the principle that parties must be given an opportunity to be heard in any matter affecting their interest in the following words: “the right to fair hearing is a human right derived from the concept of fair hearing, in this regard, a fair trial is not only seen as an additional instrument for protection of the rights of defence largo sensu…..” See MOHAMMED TAYYIB BAH V. REP OF SIERRA LEONE JUD NO: ECW/CCJ/JUD/11/15, (Unreported) in its consideration relied on the case of Ugokwe v. Okeke (2008), CCJELR pg. 149@ 146.”

— Uuter Dery v Republic of Ghana (2019) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/17/19

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