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PARTIES AND THE COURT ARE BOUND BY THE PLEADINGS AND ISSUES JOINED

Dictum

It is settled law that issues for trial by the Court are joined in the pleadings and that parties and indeed the Court are bound by the pleadings of the parties. The Petitioners’ case stands to collapse if no evidence is called on the issue. See ORUWARI V. OSLER (2012) LPELR-19764 (SC) and KUBOR & ANOR V. DICKSON & ORS (2012) LPELR-9817 (SC).

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Atiku v PDP (CA/PEPC/05/2023, 6th of September, 2023)

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PLEADINGS SHOULD NOT CONTAIN LAW OR MIXED LAW & FACT

It is well settled that every pleading must state facts and not law. A party is not expected to plead conclusions of law or mixed fact and law. However, conclusions of law can be drawn from material facts pleaded. It is also unnecessary to set out in a pleading content of a public statute.

– Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Finnih v. Imade (1992)

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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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A PARTY IS BOUND HIS PLEADING – PURPOSE OF PLEADINGS – A COURT ONLY GIVES TO A PARTY WHAT HE CLAIMS

A party is bound by his pleading at the trial and cannot make a case different from this pleadings. This is because the object of pleading is to appraise the opposing party of the case the pleader is making so as to avoid any surprise at the hearing and to ascertain the issue or issues in controversy between the parties with a view to enabling each party settle before hand, the evidence it shall adduce at the hearing. Similarly, a court only gives to a party what he claims by way of pleading. In this case the trial court was right in not declaring Exhibits 1 and D1 null and void as this fact was not pleaded by the appellant. [Olaopa v. O.A.U. Ile-Ife (1997) 7 NWLR (Pt. 512) 204 at page 225;Aderenii v. Adedire (1966) NMLR 398; A. C. 8. Ltd v. A. G. Northern Nigeria (1967) NMLR 231; Albion Const. Co. Ltd v. Rao Invest. AND Pro. Ltd (1992) 1 NWLR (Pt. 219) 583; Bakare v. L.S.C.C. (1992)8NWLR(Pt.262)641;Balogun v. Oshunkoya (1992) 3 NWLR (Pt. 232) 827]

– L.A. Ayanlere v. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nig. Ltd. (1998) – CA/K/186/96

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WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF PLEADINGS – PLEADING FACTS NECESSARY – RESULTING TRUST

The object of pleadings is to state succinctly and accurately the issues for trial and to appraise the other side of the issues which it would meet in court. A defendant cannot rely on a defence which is based upon facts not stated in the statement of claim or defence, unless he pleads such facts specifically e.g. fraud. So, where a party intends to rely on a special defence, such as resulting trust, it is sufficient if he pleads enough facts as pointing to such special defence. Such defence can be inferred from the facts raised in the pleading.

– Musdapher, JSC. Atta v. Ezeanah (2000)

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FOREIGN LAW IS A QUESTION OF FACT TO BE PLEADED

In the case of PEENOK INVESTMENTS LTD. v. HOTEL PRESIDENTIAL (1982) 12 SC (REPRINT) the Supreme Court per A.G. IRIKEFE JSC stated that as a general proposition of law, foreign law is a question of fact which should be pleaded and proved in a trial Court.

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AVERMENTS IN PLEADINGS NOT ADMITTED MUST BE PROVED

An averment in pleadings is not and has never been considered as legal evidence unless the same has been admitted by the other side to the litigation. Accordingly an averment which is not admitted must be proved or established by evidence. An averment of a material fact in pleadings which is denied but is not established by evidence is worthless and must be discountenanced. In a sense, such an averment may in law be rightly regarded as abandoned. (See generally on the above, Akinfosile v. Ijose (1960) 5 F.S.C. 192; (1960) SCNLR 447; Muraina Akanmu v. Adigun (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt.304) 218 at 231; Obmiami Brick and Stone Ltd v. A.C.B. Ltd (1992) 3 NWLR (Pt.229) 260 at 293 and Anyah v. A.N.N Ltd. (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt.247) 319 at 331.)

– Iguh, JSC. Magnusson v. Koiki (1993) – SC.119/1991

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