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JUDGEMENT WRITING BY A JUDGE IS A MATTER OF STYLE BUT MUST BEAR ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

Dictum

I accept the view that writing of a judgment is an art. I also accept the view that in carrying out this art, each Judge is free to follow his own style to produce a good product. But it is very essential that a Judge must show a clear understanding of the facts in that case, the issues involved, the law applicable and from all these to draw the right conclusions and make a correct finding on the credible evidence before him.

— Umaru Abdullai, J.C.A. JIMOH ABDULLAHI & Ors. v THE STATE (1995) – CA/K/180/C/94

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JUDGEMENT CONFINED TO ISSUE RAISED

It is a well settled principle of judicial adjudication that the judgment in a lis must be confined to the cause of action and the issues raised on the pleadings See: Ochonma v. Asirim Unosi (1965) NMLR 321. The court cannot grant remedies or reliefs not claimed by the parties. – Karibe-Whyte JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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CONSEQUENTIAL ORDER GIVES EFFECT TO A JUDGEMENT

A consequential order is an order founded on the claim of the successful party. In other words, a consequential order is one which is not merely incidental to a decision properly made, but one which is merely to give effect to that decision. – Karibe-Whyte JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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JUDGEMENT DELIVERED AFTER 90 DAYS; MISCARRIAGE HAS TO BE SHOWN TO SET ASIDE

It seems to me of necessity to stress the obvious that although courts are expected to deliver their decision within 90 days after final addresses, where the stipulated time is however not complied with either due to force majeure, inadvertence or neglect, such decision will not be rendered a nullity, unless and until the appellate court seized of the complaint or appeal is satisfied that such late delivery of judgment has occasioned miscarriage of justice. This to my mind is the true import of the provisions of Section 294(1) and (5) of the 1999 constitution aforementioned. See also the decisions in ATUNGWU VS OCHEKWU (2004) 17 NWLR (PT 901) 18; IGWE VS KALU (2002) 5 NWLR (PT 761) 678 and OLOKOTINTIN VS SARUMT (1997) 1 NWLR (PT 480) 222 AT 232.

— S.C. Oseji, JCA. ACB v Ajugwo (2011) – CA/E/66/2006

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GROUND OF APPEAL MUST RELATE TO THE JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT

It is long settled that a ground of appeal must arise or relate to the judgment against which the appeal is filed. That is to say the ground of appeal should be a direct challenge to the decision of the lower court. Where this is not the case, the ground of appeal should be struck out. See Kolawole v. Alberto (1989) 1 NWLR Pt.98 p.382 Alubankudi v. A.G. Federation (2002) 17 NWLR pt.796 p.360.

— O. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Wassah & Ors. v. Kara & Ors. (2014) – SC.309/2001

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AWARDING INTEREST BEFORE JUDGEMENT

The power to award interest before judgment is based on statute or a right based on the common law or some equitable principle or contract. The nature of this interest makes it mandatory that before an award can be claimed, the facts in support must be pleaded and evidence lead to support the claim. The rate of interest and date to calculate from should be lead in evidence and clear.

– Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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WHAT IS A FINAL JUDGEMENT?

In Obasi Brothers Merchant Co. Ltd. vs. Merchant Bank of Africa Securities Ltd. (2005) 2 SCNJ 272, Pat-Acholonu, JSC held at page 278 that: “A final judgment is one which decides the rights of parties. In other words it is a decision on the merits of the case where the matter is assiduously canvassed and the rendition of a judgment is based on what is canvassed and agitated before the Courts by the legal combatants.”

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