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APPEAL COURT HAS THE POWER TO AMEND PARTIES CAPACITY

Dictum

See, Lawrence Elendu and others v. Felix Ekwoaba (1998) 12 NWLR (pt. 578) 320 at 331 – 332 where this court, per Onu J.S.C., succinctly put the proposition of law under consideration as follows: – “Once the pleadings and evidence show conclusively a representative capacity and the case was fought throughout in that capacity, the trial court can justifiably properly enter judgment for and/or against the party in that capacity even if an amendment to reflect that capacity had not been applied for and obtained. Moreover, an appeal court has the power in the interest of justice to amend the parties’ capacity in the writ of summons and to enter judgment for them accordingly.”

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PARTIES TO A CASE DETERMINE THE JURISDICTION OF A COURT

However, what the learned senior Counsel failed to realize is the fact that the presence of the 2nd Appellant, the National Judicial Council and the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation as parties in the case, had pulled in a feature in the case which brought it out of the jurisdiction of the High Court taking into consideration the decision of this Court in Madukolu v. Nkemdelim (supra) earlier quoted in this judgment.

– Mahmud, JSC. Elelu-Habeeb v. A.G Federation (2012)

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CLIENT’S CASE MAY DEPEND ON THE QUALITY OF THE BRIEF

Counsel will do well to remember that the fate of his client’s case may well depend on the persuasive quality of his brief. The Brief is defined in Order 6, Rule 5 of the 1985 Rules as “a succinct statement of his argument in the appeal.” A mere statement of the argument is contrary to the intendment of the rule and therefore not enough.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Adejumo v. Ayantegbe (1989)

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PARTY CANNOT BE GRANTED WHAT HE DID NOT CLAIM

In this regard, the law is long and well settled that where a plaintiff claims, say, a declaration of title to land or whatever, and his claim is dismissed, it will be wrong to grant the declaration to the defendant if he did not ask for it by way of counter-claim. See: Ntiaro v. Akpam 3 N.L.R. 10; Abisi v. Ekwealor (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt. 302) 643 etc. As has been pointed out repeatedly by this and other courts, courts of law are no father Christmas and they must not grant to a party a relief which he has not sought or claimed or which is more than he has claimed. see: Ekpenyong v. Nyong (1975) 2 S.C. 71 at 81-82.

– Iguh JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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WHO IS AN INTERESTED PARTY IN A LITIGATION

✓ Nigerian Social Insurance Trust v. Klifco Nigeria Ltd (2010)LPELR 22 23 Paras CE as follows: ‘As regards the phrase “a person interested “I agree with the respondent that the phrase has been examined in the case of Evan v. Noble (1949) 1 KB 222 at 225 where a person not interested in the outcome of action has been described as, a person who has no temptation to depart from the truth one side or the other, a person not swayed by personal interest but completely detached, judicial, impartial, independent’. In other words, it contemplates that the person must be detached, independent, and non-partisan and really not interested which way in the context the case goes. Normally, a person who is performing an act in official capacity cannot be a person interested under Section 91(3). I think the phrase a person interested’ ever moreso has been quite definitively put in the case of Holton v. Holton (1946) 2 AER 534 at 535 to mean a person who has pecuniary or other material interest in the result of the proceeding a person whose interest is affected by the result of the proceedings, and, therefore would have no temptation to pervert the truth to serve his personal or private ends. It does not mean an interest in the sense of intellectual observation or an interest purely due to sympathy. It means an interest in the legal sense, which imports something to be gained or lost.’

✓ In C.P.C. v. Ombugadu (2013) ALL FWLR (Pt.706) 406 at 472 473 Para H B when considering and determining who is a person interested under Section 91(3) of the Evidence Act 2011 held thus: “By the provision of Section 91(3), Evidence Act, a person interested is a person who has a pecuniary or other material interest and is affected by the result of the proceedings and therefore would have a temptation to pervert the truth to serve his personal or private ends. It does not mean an interest purely due to sympathy. It means an interest in the legal sense which imports something be gained or lost”.

✓ In fact, in its most recent decision in OYETOLA & ANOR v INEC & ORS (2023) LPELR-60392(SC), the Supreme Court, per Agim, JSC restated this position in the following words: “The other evidence adduced by the Appellant to prove their case is the expert analysis report prepared by PW1, who by his own admission is a member of the 2nd Appellant and had been a Special Assistant to the 1st Appellant and was engaged by the Appellants to establish the invalidity of the disputed results in Form EC8A for the 744 polling units. He testified further that “I made the report as directed by the Petitioners” and that “I am part of those who wrote the Petition”. By his own testimony he established that he was no an independent expert as he had an interest in the subject of his analysis and carried out the analysis from the conclusion that the results were invalid, to justify to support the contemplated election petition. It was an analysis from an answer and not from a question. Such a report is not the product of an independent, impartial, detached and professional analysis. He is clearly a person with the disposition or temptation to depart from the truth… The listing of the expert analysis report in the Petition among the documents to be relied on to prove the petition show it was made in anticipation or contemplation to be filed. The report having been made by PW1 as a person interested in the subject matter of the report when the petition was anticipated to establish that the election result was invalid is not admissible evidence.

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PROPER, DESIRABLE, NECESSARY, PARTIES

Proper parties are those who, though not interested in the Plaintiffs claim, are made parties for some good reasons e.g. where an action is brought to rescind a contract, any person is a proper party to it who was active or concurring in the matters which gave the plaintiff the right to rescind. Desirable those who have an interest or who may be affected by the result. Necessary parties are those who are not only interested in the subject-matter of the proceedings but also who in their absence, the proceedings could not be fairly dealt with. In other words the question to be settled in the action between the existing parties must be a question which cannot be properly settled unless they are parties to the action instituted by the plaintiff.

– Oputa, JSC. Green v. Green (1987)

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