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THE TWO FACETS OF BURDEN OF PROOF

Dictum

The phrase burden of proof in civil cases has two distinct meanings which are; firstly, there is the pleadings, it is the legal burden of proof or the burden of establishing a case. Then secondly, there is the burden of proof in the sense of adducing of evidence, which is described as the evidential burden. The burden of proof in the first sense is always stable, but the burden of proof in the second sense, oscillates and constantly shifts like a chameleon changing its colour, according to how the evidence preponderates on the scale of justice. See the cases of ODUKWE VS OGUNBIYI (1998) LPELR- 2239 PAGE 1 AT 17; (1998) 8 NWLR (PT. 561) 339, ADIGHIJE VS NWAOGU (2010) 12 NWLR (PT. 1209) 119 AT 463 AND OKOYE VS NWANKWO (2014) LPELR-23172 PAGE 1 AT 21; (2014) 15 NWLR (PT. 1429) 93. It is settled law, that in civil cases, the legal burden of proof in the sense of establishing a case lies on the claimant/Petitioner as in this petition, being the person who would fail if no evidence was adduced at all. However, this is not invariably so, as there are circumstances in our adjectival law, when the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. /Respondent as in this petition. See the cases of OSAWARU VS EZEIRUKA (1978) 6-7 SC 135 AT 145, NWAVU VS OKOYE (2008) LPELR-2116 PAGE 1 AT 31, (2008) 18 NWLR (PT. 1118) 29 AND EZEMBA VS IBENEME (2004) LPELR-1205 PAGE 1 AT 20-21. AGAGU & ORS V MIMIKO 2009 LPELR 21149 (CA); BOLAJI & ANOR V INEC & ANOR 2019 LPELR 49447 (CA); SEN JULIUS ALIUCH & 1 OR V CHIEF MARTIN N. ELECHI 7 2 ORS 2012 LPELR -7823 SC PG 43 PARAS B-E.

— A. Osadebay, J. APC v INEC & Ors. (EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023, 20th Day of September, 2023)

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PROVING PAYMENT OF MONEY INTO A BANK ACCOUNT

As proof of payment of money into a bank account, the Supreme Court in Saleh v. B.O.N Limited (2006) 6 NWLR Pt. 976 Pg. 316 at 327 held that: “In a situation such as this, where the appellant claimed to have repaid the loan overdraft against the statements of accounts tendered by the respondent bank...

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HOW COURT ARRIVES IN DETERMINING PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE

In determining either the preponderance of evidence or the balance of probabilities in the evidence, the court is involved in some weighing by resorting to the imaginary scale of justice in its evaluation exercise. Accordingly, proof by preponderance of evidence simply means that the evidence adduced by the plaintiff,(in our context the petitioner or appellant)...

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PLAINTIFF MUST RELY ON HIS OWN STRENGTH, NOT WEAKNESS OF THE DEFENCE

It is settled that in a claim for declaratory reliefs, the plaintiff must prove his entitlement thereto, by cogent and credible evidence. He must rely on the strength of his own case and not on the weakness of the defence. Indeed, a declaratory relief will not be granted on the basis of an admission by...

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FACTS ADMITTED NEEDS NO FURTHER PROOF

U.D.F.U. v. Kraus (2001) 24 WRN 78 @ p. 91, where it was held firmly inter alia thus: “The law is unequivocal that a fact admitted by the Defendant in his pleading must be taken by a Court of law as established and should therefore be treated as one of the agreed facts between the parties to the suit. Indeed, these facts are directly admitted as in the instant case or deemed admitted as provided for in the Rules of Court dealing with pleadings, such averments do not need to be processed in Court … The judgement of the Court delivered on 17|2|97 based on the admission cannot be faulted.”

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BURDEN OF PROOF ON HE WHO WILL FAIL

In civil cases the burden of first proving the existence or non-existence of a fact lies on the party against whom the judgment of the court would be given if no evidence were produced on either side, regard being had to any presumption that may arise on the pleadings. – Niki Tobi, JSC. Calabar CC...

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BURDEN OF PROOF WHERE PARTY ALLEGES THE NEGATIVE

DASHE & ORS V DURVEN & ORS (2019) LPELR-48887 where my learned brother Ugo, JCA held: “While it is true that the burden of proof is generally on the person who substantially asserts the positive of an issue, and not on the person who makes a negative assertion, there is a caveat to that principle...

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