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MEANING OF “OR” IN RELATION GROUNDS UPON WHICH FOREIGN JUDGEMENT MAY NOT BE REGISTERED

Dictum

Section 3(2)(a-f) of the 1958 Act quoted above specified the grounds upon which foreign Judgment should not be registered. The grounds are alternative grounds and cannot be combined. I agree with the submission of the learned Senior Counsel for the Respondent that the word “or” used in between the grounds is disjunctive and not conjunctive. The word “or” suggests that one cannot rely on the two grounds at the same time.

— J.O. Bada, JCA. Conoil v Vitol (2011) – CA/A/213/2010

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FOREIGN JUDGEMENTS CAN ONLY BE REGISTERED WITHIN 12 MONTHS IF NO EXTENSION OF PART 1 OF THE 1990 ACT

This court in the case of Macaulay v. R. Z. B. Austria (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt.852) 282 at pp. 298H -299 A – B, per Kalgo, JSC observed as follows: “By this provision, irrespective, regardless or inspite of any other provision in the 1990 Act, any judgment of a foreign country including United Kingdom to which part 1 of that Act was not extended, can only be registered within twelve months from the date of the judgment or any longer period allowed by the court registering the judgment since the provisions of Part 1 of the said Act had not been extended to it. Section 4 of the 1990 Act which speaks of registering a judgment within 6 years after the date of judgment only applies to the countries where Part 1 of the said Act was extended, that is to say, when the Minister made an order under the 1990 Act; and in this case it was not.”

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COURT CAN SET ASIDE THE REGISTRATION OF A FOREIGN JUDGEMENT

In any case, the authority, power or jurisdiction to set aside the registration of a foreign judgment as seen above is provided by statute and the courts have recognised that position in a number of decisions. See Hyppolite v. Egharevba (1998) 11 NWLR (Pt. 575) 598 at 614 and 617, Berliet (Nig.) v. Kachalla (1995) 9 NWLR (Pt.420) 478, Dale Power System v. Witt and Busch (2001) 8 NWLR (Pt.716) 699 at 708 and Halaoui v. Grosvenor Ltd. (2002) 17 NWLR (Pt.795) 28 at 42-3.

— Garba, JCA. Shona-Jason v Omega Air (2005) – CA/L/418/2000

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FOREIGN DECISIONS ARE ONLY OF PERSUASIVE VALUE

In Olafisoye v. FRN (2004) 4 NWLR (Pt. 864) 580, Niki Tobi JSC (God bless his soul) had emphatically held inter alia thus: Decisions of Foreign Countries are merely of persuasive authority. This Court will certainly allow itself to be persuaded in appropriate cases but this Court will not stray away from its course of interpreting the Nigerian Constitution by resorting to foreign decisions which were decided strictly in the context of their Constitution and which are not similar to ours. See also Okon v. The State (1988) 1 NWLR (Pt. 69) 172 @ p. 180, where Nnemeka-Agu, JSC had stated inter alia thus: ”It is well to remember not only that a foreign decision should at best be of persuasive authority in a Nigerian Court but also that before it can even qualify as such, the legislation, substantive or adjectival, upon which it was based must be in pari materia with our own. It is dangerous to follow a foreign decision simply because its wording approximates to our own. Nigerian Courts are obliged to give Nigerian Legislation its natural and ordinary meaning, taking into account our own sociological circumstances as well as other factors which form the background of our Local Legislation in question. A Copy-Cat transportation of an English decision may in some circumstance turn out to be inimical to justice in our own Courts. See also Adetoun Oladeji (Nig) Ltd v. Nigerian Breweries PLC (2007) LPELR 160 (SC) Dada v. The State (1977) NCLR 135; Eliochin Nig. Ltd. v. Mbadiwe (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt. 14) 47; Nigerian National Supply Co. Ltd v. Alhaji Hamajode Sabana Co. Ltd (No 3) (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt. 74) 23: Senator Adesanya v. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) 5 SC 112; Yahaya v. State (2002) 3 NWLR (Pt. 754) 289.

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REGISTERING COURT DOES NOT SIT AS APPELLATE COURT OVER FOREIGN JUDGEMENT

I will also add that it is not the duty of the court entertaining an application for the registration of a foreign judgment to sit as an appellate court over the foreign judgment. The respondent to the judgment sought to be registered is expected to have exercised its right of appeal under the laws of the foreign country. All that the court to which the application is made needs to do is to ensure that the appellant complies with the requirements of our laws on registration of foreign judgment. I believe that the requirements were met in this case.

— S.A. Akintan, JSC. Witt Ltd. v Dale Power (2007) – SC.240/2000

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EXECUTION BY REGISTERING COURT AND ORIGINAL COURT

When a judgment has been pronounced and no appeal is brought by the parties, the execution of the judgment normally follows. All types of application may follow and these usually include stay of execution, instalmental payment, variation etc. It seems to me that applications, other than those directed specifically at obtaining satisfaction of the judgment are properly brought before the court which originally gave the judgment even in cases where the judgment has been registered in a Foreign Court. On the other hand, application arising out of execution of writs taken out in the registering court ought to be heard by the registering court. This is without prejudice to the power of the court which originally gave the judgment to enforce by execution its judgment even when the judgment has been registered in a foreign court. The way it works is that either court must satisfy itself that the execution power is not being exercised simultaneously in this exercise of the concurrent jurisdiction in the original and the registering court.

— Oguntade, JCA. Adwork Ltd. v Nigeria Airways Ltd. (1999) – CA/L/156/99

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THE REGISTERING COURT AND THE ORIGINAL COURT SHOULD KEEP WATCH NOT TO CONFLICT IN EXECUTION

The process of execution of a judgment may take different forms and may necessitate other ancillary proceedings. In the quest to eliminate any conflict of jurisdiction as to execution between the registering court and the original court, it is important for either of the courts to discover what is being done or has been done by either of them at a particular time before either assumes jurisdiction. It seems to me that the matter boils down to the necessity for both courts to prevent an abuse of its execution process rather than in the proclamation of principles.

— Oguntade, JCA. Adwork Ltd. v Nigeria Airways Ltd. (1999) – CA/L/156/99

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