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CONSEQUENTIAL ORDER GIVES EFFECT TO A JUDGEMENT

Dictum

A consequential order is an order founded on the claim of the successful party. In other words, a consequential order is one which is not merely incidental to a decision properly made, but one which is merely to give effect to that decision. – Karibe-Whyte JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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THE JUDGEMENT OF A COURT REMAINS BINDING UNTIL SET ASIDE BY AN APPELLATE COURT

It is the law that a ruling or judgment of the court remains valid until it is set aside by an appellate court. The Ruling of Taiwo, J. of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti of 13/12/16 defroze the account of Ayodele Fayose from which the sum of N75,000,000.00 (Seventy Five Million Naira) being the professional fees paid to the Respondent for services rendered remains the extant decision. The said decision which the Appellant alleged to be perverse has not been set aside, it therefore remains the law, valid and binding, vacating an earlier order made by Idris, J. of the Lagos Division was the extant law as at the time the payment of N75,000,000.00 was made to the Respondent for services rendered. As rightly argued by the learned counsel to the Respondent, at the time the order was made by the lower court defreezing the account of the Respondent’s Chambers, the decision of Taiwo, J. was valid and subsisting until set aside by an appeal court or by the lower court itself if it acted without jurisdiction or in the absence of an aggrieved party. See, ROSSEK & ORS VS. ACB LTD & ORS (1993) LPELR – 2955 (SC) P. 104, PARAS. A – D, OKEZIE VICTOR IKPEAZU VS. ALEX OTTI & ORS (2016) LPELR – 40055 (SC) P. 20, PARAS. A – C, FIDELITY BANK VS. THE M.T. TABORA & ORS (2018) LPELR – 44504 (SC) PP. 6 – 14, PARAS. B – D. In OJIAKO & ORS VS. OGUEZE & ORS (1962) LPELR – 25 116 (SC) P. 31 PARAS. D – E, his lordship Brett, JSC on the validity of a subsisting judgment held that: “Where no question of nullity arises, once the judgment of any competent court is perfected it is valid until set aside by competent authority, and there can be no presumption against the validity of such a judgment.” See, also BEMDOO MINDI VS. THE STATE (2020) LPELR – 52897 (SC) P. 53, PARAS. B – E.

— C.N. Uwa, JCA.FRN v Ozekhome (2021) – CA/L/174/19

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WHAT IS A CONSEQUENTIAL ORDER

So what is a consequential order? A consequential order is one giving effect to a judgment or order to which it is consequential. It is directly traceable to or flowing from that judgment or order duly prayed for and made.

– Katsina-Alu, JSC. Dantsoho v. Mohammed (2003)

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JUDGEMENT OF COURT REMAINS VALID UNTIL SET ASIDE; COURT OF COORDINATE JURISDICTION CANNOT SET ASIDE COORDINATE COURT JUDGEMENT

It is now settled firstly, that a judgment or order of a court of competent jurisdiction, remain valid and effective, unless it is set aside by an appeal court or by the lower court itself if it found that it acted without jurisdiction. See the cases of Ogueze v. Ojiako (1962),SCNLR 112; (1962) 11 All NLR 58 at 61; Williams v. Sanusi (1961) All NLR 334 at 337; Odiase v. Agbo (1972) 1 All NLR (Pt.1) 170 at 176; Melifonwu v. Egbuyi (1982) 9 SC 145; Ajao v. Alao (1986) 5 NWLR (Pt. 45) 802 at 823 and many others. Secondly, in the absence of statutory authority or except where the judgment or order is a nullity, one Judge, has no power, to set aside or vary the order of another Judge of concurrent and co-ordinate jurisdiction. See the cases of Amanabu v. Okafor (1966) 1 All NLR 205 at 207; Okorodudu v. Ejuetami (1967) NMLR 282 at 283; Akporue & Anor v. Okei (1973) 12 SC 137; Uku v. Okumagba (1974)1 All NLR (Pt. 1)475; Wimpey(Nig.)Ltd. v. Balogun (1986) 3 NWLR (Pt. 28) 324 at 331 and Orthopaedic Hospital Management Board v. B. B. Apugo & Sons Ltd. (1990) 1 NWLR (Pt.129) 652 at 657 just to mention but a few. The rationale or reason for this, is because, it is now firmly established that there is only one High Court in a State.

— I.F. Ogbuagu, JSC. Witt Ltd. v Dale Power (2007) – SC.240/2000

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OUT OF NOTHING, NOTHING CAN ARISE; NOTHING CAN COME FORTH OF A JUDGEMENT THAT IS A NULLITY

The aforesaid attempt by respondents’ counsel to influence this court, consisting of a different panel of Justices, by the previous but nullified conclusions-even though described as opinions-of its predecessors in respect of the same appeal is, in my view, a novel and an improper one. As rightly submitted by learned Counsel for the appellants a judgment set aside as a nullity ceases to have any effect whatsoever, for it is non-existent and as if it had never been given. I therefore agree with the conclusion of appellants’ counsel that such judgment “cannot constitute an opinion of the court that gave it, for out of nothing, nothing can arise.” Reference was specially made to the cases of Akpene v. Barclays Bank (1977)1 S.C. 47 at 59 where the Supreme Court adopted the view of Lord Denning in Macfoy v. United African Company Ltd. (1961) 3 W.L.R. (P.C.) 1405 at 1409, to the effect that: “You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”

— P. Nnaemeka-Agu JSC. Gbaniyi Osafile v. Paul Odi (SC 149/1987, 4th day of May 1990)

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JUSTICE MUST DELIVER OPINION IN WRITING; APPLIES TO ANY PANEL WITH MORE THAN ONE PANEL

It is evident from this constitutional provision that the intention of the framers of the Constitution is that where a panel of justices hears a cause or matter, each of them must express and deliver his opinion in writing. Such written opinion may however be delivered by any other justice of the court on behalf of a justice who participated in the hearing but is unavoidably absent. The opinion delivered must be the opinion of the justices who participated in the hearing. Even though the provisions of section 294 (1) and (2) refers specifically to; Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, it is my view that the principle is applicable to any court or tribunal that sits in a panel of two or more members.

— Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Nyesom v. Peterside (SC.1002/2015 (REASONS), 12 Feb 2016)

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SOME PRINCIPLES ON THE NATURE OF A COURT’S JUDGMENT

1. A judgment or ruling of a competent court ought not to be illusory, but ought to have its consequences. One consequence of the Order of the Court of Appeal dated 13/11/85 is the restoration of Chief Ojukwu to his residence at No. 29 Queen’s Drive. The applicants by their delaying tactics have so far made that order illusory.

2. A judgment once given should be accepted as correct until the contrary is proved. This can only be done by and in an appropriate higher Court of Appeal – in this case the Supreme Court. This Court has not yet over-ruled or set aside the Order of the Court of Appeal of 13/11/85.

3. He who is in defiant disobedience of the law – here an Order of court – cannot appeal to the same law to help him continue in his disobedience.

4. The Applicants in this Motion are asking the court to exercise its discretion in their favour. The exercise of discretion is equitable and the function of equity is to supplement the law never to counteract or contradict the law.

– Oputa, JSC. Military Governor v. Ojukwu (1986) – SC.241/1985

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