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ORIGINAL COURT WHICH GAVE JUDGEMENT DOES NOT LOSE JURISDICTION IN RELATION TO THE EXECUTION PROCESS

Dictum

I am in agreement with the learned counsel for the respondent, that the original court which gave judgment does not lose its jurisdiction in relation to the execution process in the case just because the judgment has been registered in a foreign country. But, once it is recognised that a registering court has the same power with respect to execution as the original court, it becomes important to monitor closely what the registering court is doing in relation to the execution of a particular registered judgment in order to ensure that there is no conflict in the exercise of powers as to execution between the registering court and the court which originally gave the judgment.

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

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SIX YEARS TO REGISTER FOREIGN JUDGEMENT CANNOT BE APPLICABLE UNTIL MINISTER MAKES ORDER UNDER THE 1990 ACT

Under S4 of the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, the period within which a foreign Judgment may be registered in Nigeria was extended to six years from the date of the Judgment. However, S3(1) of the Act subjected the coming into force of the provisions of part 1 of the Act which part 1 contains S4(1) of the said Act which provides for the period of registration to be six years if an order is made by the Minister of Justice directing the extension of part 1 of the Act to the relevant foreign countries. In effect, until the Minister of Justice in this country makes the Order under S3(1) of the Act, S4 of the Foreign Judgment Act cannot be available to any applicant to support an application to register a foreign Judgment within a period of 6 years from the date of the Judgment. See Marine & Gen. Ass. Co. Plc. v. O. U. Ins. Ltd. (2006) 4 NWLR (Pt.971) SC 622.

— R.O. Nwodo, JCA. Teleglobe v 21st Century Tech. (2008) – CA/L/694/2006

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JUDGEMENT NOT ENFORCEABLE IN ORIGINAL COURT WILL NOT BE ENFORCEABLE IN REGISTERING COURT

The reasoning behind the conditions laid down for refusal is very obvious. In other words where a judgment has been satisfied, the interest of the judgment creditor had been served and therefore any further registration of same would serve no beneficial purpose but a mere waste of time. There would be nothing more to pursue. Further more and on the second reason warranting refusal, it is a matter of common knowledge that any judgment which by its nature cannot be enforced by exemption in the country of the original court would certainly and invariably encourter the same situational characteristics wheresoever else. Basically the general fundamentals relating to the purpose, determination application and effectual reasonings of any legal system are principally based on the same pedestal connotation. Any judgment which could not be executed is as good as none at all.

— C.B. Ogunbiyi, JCA. Teleglobe v 21st Century Tech. (2008) – CA/L/694/2006

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

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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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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SIX YEARS FOR REGISTRATION OF JUDGEMENT CAN ONLY APPLY WHERE MINISTER HAS EXERCISED HIS POWER

In 1961, the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcements) Act (Cap. 152) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria was enacted. Under section 4(1), the period within which a foreign judgment may be registered in Nigeria was extended to six years from the date of such judgment. But section 3(1) of the Act makes the applicability of the six years’ period subject to an order by the Minister of Justice directing that Part I of the Act [which includes section 4(1)] shall extend to a relevant foreign country … Section 9 of the Act preserves the effect of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance until an order envisaged under section 3(1) is made by the Minister. This relates to all foreign judgments including those given in the United Kingdom which should be registered within 12 months or such longer period the court may allow them.

— S.O. Uwaifo, JSC. Macaulay v RZB (2003) – SC.109/2002

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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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