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APPELLATE COURTS ARE CONCERNED WITH THE APPLICATION OF LAW TO FACTS

Dictum

In a trial court, the judge, in determining findings of facts, depends on his observations of witnesses. This is not the case in an appeal court. Here it is an application of the law on the facts as found by a trial court. A final court or a court of appeal, or a court of first instance, therefore, must deliver its judgment within three months, as provided by our Constitution. It will not therefore defeat the purpose of section 258(1) of the Constitution, if judgments are delivered within three months. It is in this sense that compliance with the relevant section of the Constitution will enhance the administration of justice. Briefs are filed, in addition to oral argument, before a Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court are, therefore, concerned with the law on the findings of facts. That places the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court in a much better position.

— Sowemimo, JSC. Odi v Osafile (1985) – SC.144/1983

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SECTION 16 OF THE COURT OF APPEAL ACT GIVES THE CA WIDE POWERS

Section 16 gives the court of appeal power to deal with any case before it on appeal, which power includes the jurisdiction of a court of first instance. The section confers on the lower court wide power to enable it make order which the High Court would have made in a matter of jurisdiction of the High Court i.e. a precondition for the invocation of the provision of Section 16 by the Court of Appeal. The section stipulates that the court of Appeal may from time to time; make any order necessary for determining the real question in controversy in the appeal.

– Adekeye JSC. Harka v. Keazor (2011) – SC.262/2005

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APPELLATE COURT CAN MAKE ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES

Where, however, the trial court made no assessment of damages, an appellate court can make the assessment itself if there exists on the record enough evidence on which assessment can be based.

– Edozie JSC. C & C Constr. v. Okhai (2003) – SC.8/1999

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FUNCTION OF THE APPELLATE COURT

Finally, on this issue, I may have to reiterate the function of an Appellate Court on question of facts. It is mainly limited to seeking whether or not there was evidence before the trial court upon which its decision on facts was based, whether it wrongly accepted or rejected any evidence tendered at the trial; whether evidence called by either party to the conflict was put on either side of the imaginary scale and weighed one against the other. In other words, whether the trial court properly evaluated the evidence, whether the trial court correctly approached the assessment of the evidence before it and whether the evidence properly admitted was sufficient to support the decision upon the inference drawn therefrom. This is the only way and procedure open to an appellate court in the consideration of an appeal brought before it.

— T. Muhammad, JSC. VAB Petroleum v. Momah (2013) – SC.99/2004

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