Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

PURPOSE OF PLEADINGS IN CIVIL CASES

Dictum

I have carefully considered the submissions of the parties and the judicial authorities cited. It is trite that adversarial civil litigation is basically fought on pleadings. It is the foundation of the parties’ respective cases. The general principle of law is that such pleadings must sufficiently and comprehensively set out material facts, so as to ascertain with certainty and clarity the matters or issues in dispute between the parties. This is because the purpose of pleadings is to give adequate notice to the adversary of the case he is to meet and to afford him the opportunity to properly respond to such case. Its aim is to bring to the knowledge of the opposite side and the court, all the essential facts. It is therefore a safeguard against the element of surprise. See: SODIPO V LEMMINKAINEN OY & ANOR (1985) LPELR-3088(SC) at page 56, para. F, per Oputa, JSC; ODOM & ORS v PDP & ORS (2015) LPELR-24351(SC); ALHASSAN & ANOR v ISHAKU & ORS (2016) LPELR-40083(SC); and PDP v INEC & 3 ORS (supra).

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Peter Obi & Anor. v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/03/2023

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

PLEADING, IS PLEADING FACTS UPON WHICH A LAW CAN STAND ON

While I come to the conclusion that the appellants did not plead co-ownership, I should not be taken as making the point that they should have included in their pleadings, the legal word of co-ownership or its synonym joint-ownership. That is not what I mean. As a matter of law, a party cannot plead law in his pleadings. Although there are exceptions here and there to this general principle of law, particularly as it relates to the plea of some specific defences to certain actions, the matter before me, does not extend to that. All that the appellants were expected to do was to plead enough facts upon which the law of co-ownership can stand and keep its shoulders high, awaiting the lawyer to replenish it with either statutory authorities or decided case. But that was not done here, and the trial Judge, could not have supplied it. .

— Tobi, JCA. Abraham v Olorunfunmi (1990) – CA/L/83/89

Was this dictum helpful?

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

Was this dictum helpful?

WHERE THERE IS VARIANCE IN PLEADINGS AND THE EVIDENCE, THE ACTION IS BOUND TO FAIL

It is clear from the foregoing that the claim of the plaintiffs as disclosed in the writ of summons and statement of claim was not supported by the evidence of the trial. It is well settled law that parties are bound by their pleadings. Where there is variance between the claim the pleadings and evidence, the action is bound to fail- See Ogiamen v. Ogiamen (1967) NMLR. 245.

— A.G. Karibi-Whyte, JSC. Olowosago V. Adebanjo (SC.134/86, 29 Sep 1988)

Was this dictum helpful?

PARTIES ARE BOUND BY THEIR PLEADINGS

As the parties are adversaries, each one is bound by his case as framed in his pleadings. That being so, the Defendant/Appellant will not be allowed to set up (at the hearing as he did) an entirely different case without any prior amendment to his pleadings: African Continental Seaways Ltd. v. Nigerian Dredging Roads General Works Ltd. (1977) 5 S.C. 235 at p.249.

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

Was this dictum helpful?

PARTIES BOUND BY PLEADINGS – EVIDENCE NOT PLEADED

It is elementary law that parties are bound by their pleadings and facts not pleaded will go to no issue. In other words, evidence on facts not pleaded will not avail the party relying on the evidence.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

Was this dictum helpful?

FACTS / AVERMENTS PLEADED BUT NOT CONTROVERTED ARE DEEMED ADMITTED

It is a general principle of law that facts pleaded, or averments deposed to in an affidavit, if not specifically challenged or controverted, are deemed admitted and require no further proof, except where the facts are obviously false to the knowledge of the court. There is a plethora of authorities on this, such as, The Honda Place Ltd. Vs Globe Motor Holdings Nig. Ltd. (supra), Ajomale Vs Yaduat (No.2) (supra); Ogunleye Vs Oni (1990) 4 SC 130; CBN Vs Interstella Communications Ltd. (2017) LPELR 43940 (SC) @ 620; Nishizawa Ltd Vs Jthwani (1984) 12 SC 234.

– O.K. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Lagos State Govt. v. Abdul Kareem (2022) – SC.910/2016

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.