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CASES WHERE ORIGINATING SUMMONS HAVE BEEN APPLIED

Dictum

As a child of the English common law, the Nigerian legal system spontaneously followed the above position of the law.
In Lagos Executive Development Board v. Awode (1995) 21 NLR 50, where plaintiff brought an action by originating summons for: (i) forfeiture of a lease; (ii) arrears of rent by virtue of sections 12, 38, 47, 50 and 53 of the Lagos Town Planning Ordinance, the court held that the section did not entitle the plaintiff to proceed by originating summons in a claim of that nature and that the action must be commenced by writ in the ordinary way.
In Doherty v. Doherty [1968] NMLR (pt.2) 241, the court held that it is generally unadvisable to employ an originating summons for proceedings against an invitee, and this procedure is of course quite unsuitable where the facts are in dispute, as the evidence is by way of affidavit.
In National Bank of Nigeria v. Alakija (1978) 2 LR 78, the court held that justice could only be done between the parties if all the facts were presented to the court in formal pleadings and the proceedings should have been commenced by writ rather than by originating summons.
In Oloyo v. Alegbe Speaker Bendel State House of Assembly [1983] 2 SCNLR 35, it was held that the action was misconceived in that it was not a dispute to be resolved by way of originating summons in view of the conflicts on crucial issues and facts. It should have been begun by a writ.
In Din v. Attorney-General of the Federation [1986] 1 NWLR (Pt. 17) 471, the Court of Appeal re-echoed the decision of the Supreme Court in the National Bank case and held that commencement of actions by originating summons is a proceeding which should only be used in cases where the facts are not in dispute or there is no likelihood of their being in dispute. Originating summons is also reserved for issues like the determination of questions of a Constitution and not matters of such controversy that justice of the case could demand the setting of pleadings. Since the affidavits in the case were conflicting, the matter could be taken by originating summons.

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CLAIM DETERMINES IF AN ORIGINATING SUMMONS IS APPROPRIATE

From the above therefore, the first duty of a trial judge, where action are begun or initiated by means of an originating summons procedure, is to examine the claim before him, and then to ascertain whether the procedure in originating summons was suitable or appropriate to the action. This first step, is sine qua-non to...

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COMMENCING BY ORIGINATING SUMMONS OR BY WRIT OF SUMMONS

As demonstrated above, Originating Summons is, particularly, employed in commencing a suit when what is in dispute is the mere construction of documents or interpretation of law in respect of which pleadings are unnecessary or where there is no real dispute as to facts between the parties, G. F. Harwood, Odger’s Principles of Pleadings and...

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ORIGINATING SUMMONS NOT FOR CONTENTIOUS FACTS

The practice is usually that originating summons is not a proper procedure where contentious issues of fact are to be resolved by the court. – AKA’AHS, J.S.C. Danladi v. Dangiri (2014) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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ORIGINATING SUMMONS NOT SUITABLE WHERE FACTS ARE IN DISPUTE

The law is indeed well settled that Originating Summons procedure for initiating action is not suitable and therefore not available for action involving hostile proceedings where the facts are seriously in dispute. – Mahmud, JSC. Elelu-Habeeb v. A.G Federation (2012) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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WHERE ORIGINATING SUMMONS IS TO BE USED

The law is already trite that, before a proceeding can be commenced by originating summons, the construction of a written law, or instrument made there under or deed or will or contract or other document must be in issue. It means that in any of such cases certain questions must have arisen for determination with...

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ORIGINATING SUMMONS IS NOT SUITABLE FOR CONTROVERSIAL CASES

The principle has become trite that the originating summons procedure is not for causes in which facts remain hostile and in conflict. The procedure is ideal for the determination of short and straight forward questions of construction and interpretation of documents or statutes. It is never the applicable procedure in controversial cases where the facts on which the court is invited to construe or interpret the document or legislation in relation to remain violently in conflict. See also Famfa Oil Limited v. AG of the Federation & anor [2003] LPELR-1239(SC); [2003] 18 NWLR (Pt. 852) 453.

Olatunji v UBER (2018) – NICN/LA/546/2017

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