Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

WHAT ARE VAGUE AND UNREASONABLE GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Dictum

In this preliminary objection, the crux of the complaint is that the grounds of appeal in the notice of appeal are vague and unreasonable. Vague and unreasonable grounds of appeal from our established principles of law are those grounds of appeal couched in a manner which does not provide any solid or explicit standard for it to be understood. An illusive complaint which is lacking in depth and is more windy, evasive, ambiguous, debatable, disputable and inexplicable. See the cases of Set Success Ent.& Co., Ltd v. Ibeju-Lekki Local Government (2021) LPELR — 56608 (SC), Adamu v. C.O.P. Plateau State Command (2020) LPELR – 51956 (CA).

— S.J. Adah, JCA. Luck Guard v. Adariku (2022) – CA/A/1061/2020

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

WHEN GROUNDS OF APPEAL ARE ONE OF LAW

In NNPC v. FAMFA OIL LTD. (2012) 17 N.W.L.R. (Part 1328) S.C. 148, this Court, while faced with a similar objection to the grounds of appeal, went ahead to deal extensively with the criteria for identifying when a ground of appeal is one of law, of fact, or of mixed fact and law. Rhodes-Vivours J.S.C., at Pp. 175 – 176, Paragraphs C – H, as follows: “…. In Nwadike v. Ibekwe (Supra), this Court explained further that: (a) It is an error in law if the adjudicating Tribunal took into account some wrong criteria in reaching its conclusion. (b) Several issues that can be raised on legal interpretation of deeds, documents, terms of arts and inference drawn there from are grounds of law. (c) Where a ground deals merely with a matter of inference, even if it be inference of fact, a ground framed from such is a ground of law. (d) Where a tribunal states the law in point wrongly, it commits an error in law. (e) Where the complaint is that there was no evidence or no admissible evidence upon which a finding or decision was based, same is regarded as a ground of law. (f) If a Judge considers matters which are not before him and relies on them for the exercise of his discretion, he will be exercising same on wrong principles and this will be a question of law…..”

Was this dictum helpful?

FAILURE TO CONSIDER COMPETENT GROUND OF APPEAL WILL RESULT IN LACK OF FAIR HEARING

In Union Bank of Nigeria Ltd v Nwaokolo (1995) 6 NWLR (Part 400) 127: “The appellants, as clearly depicted on the Record and in the brief of argument they filed, had identified three issues for the consideration of the court below. It is also on record that appellants argued fully all three issues and by implication, the eight grounds, to which they related. At the hearing of the appeal by the court below, it is common ground that the appellants adopted their brief of argument. However, without justification the majority judgment of that court now assailed before this Court, failed to pronounce on Grounds 4, 5 and 6 covered by appellants’ Issues 2 and 3 thereat, both of which have prompted Ground 2 in the appeal to this Court which incidentally, is covered by Issue 2 now under consideration. The judgment of the majority in the court below neither adverted to nor pronounced on these grounds (4, 5 and 6 respectively).” “Having considered the grounds (4, 5 and 6) which the court below failed to consider or pronounce upon, the next logical question to ask is, what are the consequences of such a failure? Failure to consider grounds of appeal, it is now established by decisions of this Court, amount to lack of fair hearing and a miscarriage of justice. (See Atano v AG Bendel (1988)2 NWLR (Part 75) 201). See also Kotoye v CBN (1989) 1 NWLR (Part 98) 419 where Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC held at page 448 of the Report thus:- ‘For the rule of fair hearing is not a technical doctrine. It is one of substance. The question is not whether a party entitled to be heard before deciding had in fact been given an opportunity of hearing. Once an appellate court comes to the conclusion that the party was entitled to be heard before a decision was reached but was not given the opportunity of a hearing the order/judgment thus entered is bound to be set aside.’ Fair hearing within the meaning of Section 33(1) of the 1979 Constitution means a trial conducted according to all legal rules formulated to ensure that justice is done to the parties vide Ntukidem v Oko (1986) 5 NWLR (Part 45) 909.”

Was this dictum helpful?

ISSUE NOT TIED TO A GROUND OF APPEAL IS OF NO MOMENT

Issue 1 was formulated from ground 1 while Issue 2 does not flow from any of the seven grounds of Appeal. No Issue or Issues were formulated or argued in respect of grounds 2-7 of his Notice of Appeal. A fortiori, the Appellant appears to have abandoned grounds 2-7 of his Notice of Appeal. In the same vein, Issue No. 2 is not tied to any ground of Appeal and therefore is of no moment. See Yadis Nigeria Ltd v. Great Nigeria Insurance Coy Ltd (2007) 30 NSQR (Pt. 1) page 495.

— P.O. Elechi, JCA. Onoeyo v UBN (2014) – CA/C/66/2007

Was this dictum helpful?

NATURE OF A GROUND OF APPEAL

Grounds of appeal are meant to attack findings of a court that have bearing on the case put up by a litigant. In other words, it should be related to a decision of the court and contain complaints an appellant rely on to succeed in setting aside a decision, the ratio decidendi of a judgment, not just observations and passing remarks of a Judge in the course of writing a judgment.

– Mukhtar JSC. Nwankwo v. Ecumenical (2007)

Was this dictum helpful?

GROUNDS OF APPEAL ARE EXPLANATORY NOTES OF WHAT IS IN CONTEST

In Waziri v Geidam (2016) 11 NWLR (Pt.1523) 230 at 256, I had in this Court stated that:- “The functions which particulars to a ground of appeal are required to perform are to highlight the grouse of the appellants against the judgement on appeal. They are specifications of errors and misdirection which show the complaint the appellants are screaming about and the line of thought the appellants are going to canvass in their brief of argument. What is fundamental is that the ground of appeal are really explanatory notes on what is in contest and the particulars which open and exposed so that there is no attempt at an ambush or giving of room to which the respondent would say he was left in the dark of what he was to defend on appeal or that they are unable to understand or appreciate the complaint in the said ground.”

Was this dictum helpful?

CANNOT FRAME MORE ISSUES THAN THE NUMBER OF GROUNDS

The law is well settled that in practice, there should be no proliferation of issues. Therefore out of three grounds of appeal, an appellant cannot formulate or frame four issues. In other words, a party cannot frame more issues than the number of grounds of appeal.

– Adumein JCA. Adewoyin v. Executive Governor (2011)

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.