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PARTIES ISSUES ARE TO BE CONSIDERED

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It is trite that issues raised by parties ought to be considered and determined. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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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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DEPARTING FROM PLEADINGS GOES TO NO ISSUE

This was raised by the appellant who claimed that it became his property on dissolution of the partnership and ceased to be partnership property. Having raised it, the onus of proof lay on him to establish by evidence that the property ceased to be partnership property. That is the law. However, he claimed in his testimony that the property was never partnership property but his own personal property. Since this was a departure from the pleadings, it went to no issue. Further, the Court will not allow a party to depart from the case set out in his pleadings. See Abimbola George v. Dominion Flour Mills (1963) All NLR. 71.

— Obaseki, JSC. Salawu Ajide V. Kadiri Kelani (SC.76/1984, 29 Nov 1985)

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ISSUE FROM INCOMPETENT GROUND OF APPEAL IS ITSELF INCOMPETENT

Ordinarily, any issue formulated from an incompetent ground of appeal is itself incompetent and must be struck out. Issues are the important questions formulated for determination by the court and could be distilled from more than one ground of appeal. See; Sunday Madagwa V. The State (1988) 12 SC (Pt. 1) 68 at 76 … Generally, issues are not meant to be formulated on each ground of appeal but raised or distilled out of a combination of the essential complaints of the appellant in the grounds of appeal. Therefore, issues must necessarily relate to facts or law decided by the court whose decision is appealed against. In other words, it is ideal to distill or formulate an issue from more than one ground of appeal but where this is not done or it is impossible, just only one issue may be raised from one ground of appeal. Therefore, a valid Notice of Appeal with one ground of appeal and a single issue for determination is sufficient to sustain an appeal … There is no doubt that it is now an established practice that an appeal is decided upon the issues raised or formulated for determination of the court. In effect, when issues for determination are formulated, the grounds of appeal upon which they are based or from which the issues are formulated become extinguished or expired. The argument of the appeal is then based on the issues so formulated but not on the grounds.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. African Intl. Bank Ltd. v Integrated Dimensional System (2012) – SC.278/2002

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WHEN COURT RAISES AN ISSUE, COURT SHOULD DO WELL TO GIVE PARTY OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS IT ON THE ISSUE

But there is nothing in the case of Lawrence Okafor & Ors. v. Felix Nnaife & ors. (1972) 3 E.C.S.L.R. 261, which the learned trial Judge relied upon to support his decision to suggest that the court could take up the point and decide it without hearing the parties. Indeed in that case when the Supreme Court felt that point needed to be taken, their Lordships invited counsel on both sides to address the court on the point, before they decided it. It is basic and fundamental in our system of administration of justice that no one can have a decision entered against him without his being heard. This is the essence of the maxim: audi alterant partem. That maxim implies not only that all the parties to be affected by a decision are entitled to be heard in the case on hand before the decision is given but also that if, in the course of hearing, any new point material to the decision arises, each of such parties shall be heard on it before a decision based upon it can rightly be handed down. Quite apart from this, a Judge who in our system must be and be seen as an impartial umpire will be anything but that if he takes up a material point, no matter how clear it may appear, and, without hearing any of the parties to be affected by the decision, decides it. That cannot be even-handed justice. A court ought never raise an issue for either of the parties and, without hearing both parties proceed to base its judgment on it. See Inua v. Nta (1961) 1 ALL N.L.R. 576; Ejowhomu v. Edok-Eter Ltd. (1986) 5 N. W.L.R. (Pt.39) 1. So, the Court of Appeal was right on that ground.

— Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Ugo v Obiekwe (1989) – SC.207/1985

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WHAT IS AN ISSUE?

In the case of Olafisoye v. FRN (2004) LPELR-2553 (SC), the Supreme Court per Tobi, JSC, held that: “An issue is the question in dispute between the parties necessary for the determination of the Court, see Chief Ejowhomu v. Edok-Eter Mandalis Limited (1986) 5 NWLR (Pt. 39) 1. An issue which is usually raised by way of a question is usually a proposition of law or fact in dispute between the parties, necessary for the determination by the Court; a determination of which will normally affect the result of the appeal. See Adejumo v. Ayantegbe (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 110) 417. Issues for determination of appeal, are short questions raised against one or more grounds of appeal and are meant to be a guide to the arguments and submission to be advanced in support of the grounds of appeal. It is a succinct and precise question either of law or of fact for determination by the Court, see Imonikhe v. The Attorney-General of Bendel State (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt. 311) 370. An issue is a disputed point or question to which parties in an action have narrowed their several allegations and upon which they are desirous of obtaining either decision of the Court on question of law, or of the Court on question of fact. See Chief Okoromaka v. Chief Odiri (1995) 7 NWLR (Pt. 408) 411”.

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ARGUMENT IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES MUST BE TRACED TO THE ISSUES

It must be emphasised that issues for determination in an appeal must arise from the grounds of appeal filed by the appellant. Equally arising from this statement of the law is that the arguments in support of the issues must be traced to the issues and the grounds of appeal from which such issues were framed. I say no more.

— Mohammed, JSC. C.S.S. Bookshops v. Muslim Community & Ors. (2006) – SC.307/2001

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