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LACK OF A PRECEDENT ON A POINT CANNOT DENY JUSTICE

Dictum

What is the argument on the other side? Only this: that no case has been found in which it has been done before. That argument does not appeal to me in the least. If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still whilst the rest of the world goes on: and that will be bad for both. – Packer v Packer [1954] P 15 at 22

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CONDITION FOR WHICH A DECISION CAN BE USED AS A PRECEDENCE IN ANOTHER CASE

The principles laid down in the cases cited by the lower Court will be applicable to the instant case only where the accented facts of this matter are the same as the facts that induced the decision in those cases, due regard being had to the statutes and the Rules of Court governing the different...

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THE RULE AND THE PRINCIPLE – STARE DECISIS

Per Oputa, JSC. in Chief Gani Fawehinmi v Nigerian Bar Association & ors. (No.2) (1989) 2 N.W.L.R. (Pt.105) 558 at page 650. “Our law is the law of the practitioner rather than the law of the philosopher. Decisions have drawn their inspiration and their strength from the very facts which framed the issues for decision....

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CAUTIOUSNESS IN APPLYING FOREIGN DECISIONS TO NIGERIAN SITUATIONS

This Court had earlier on in Oruakpor Okokor v. The State (1967) NMLR 889 at 191 (per Idigbe, JSC) sounded the following note of warning:- “Trial Courts should be a little more cautious in the application of principles of English law in the face of specific provisions in our local statutes”. It is the duty of every Nigerian Court not only to uphold but to apply Nigerian Laws and rules of Court. As Obaseki, JSC rightly put it in Bendel State v. The Federation (1981) 10 SC 115:- “Just as Australian Courts apply Australian law and American Courts apply American law, be they State or Federal, Nigerian Courts are enjoined to by the Nigerian Constitution to follow Nigerian law…” Eso, JSC at pages 187-188 of the above Report stated that:- “Gone should be those days if ever they were, when the decisions of other Courts in any common law country are to be accepted in this country as precedents in the like of the Delphic Oracle.” See also Uyanne v. Asika (1975) 4 SC 233 and Esan v. Olowa (1974) 3 SC 125.”

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‘STARE DECISIS’ IS TO STAND BY THINGS DECIDED

This appeal illustrates the fundamental importance of the principle of stare decisis in our jurisprudence. “Stare decisis” is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th Edition, at Page 1443 thus: “to stand by things decided. The doctrine of precedent under which it is necessary for a Court to follow earlier judicial decisions when the same points...

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A CASE PRECEDENT PROPERLY DISTINGUISHED CANNOT APPLY IN PRESENT CASE

Where the reliance on a precedent case is challenged in a proceedings on the basis that the facts are distinguishable from those of the present case, the court must determine if the facts of the two cases are the same or not. It cannot gloss over that issue and proceed to simply rely on the...

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LOWER COURT IS BOUND BY THE DECISION OF HIGHER COURTS

Dalhatu Vs Turaki & Ors. (2003) LPELR – 917(SC) @ 41 – 43 C – F, thus: “The doctrine of Judicial precedent otherwise known as stare decisis is not alien to our Jurisprudence. It is a well settled principle of Judicial policy which must be strictly adhered to by all lower courts. While such lower...

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