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DEPARTING FROM PLEADINGS GOES TO NO ISSUE

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This was raised by the appellant who claimed that it became his property on dissolution of the partnership and ceased to be partnership property. Having raised it, the onus of proof lay on him to establish by evidence that the property ceased to be partnership property. That is the law. However, he claimed in his testimony that the property was never partnership property but his own personal property. Since this was a departure from the pleadings, it went to no issue. Further, the Court will not allow a party to depart from the case set out in his pleadings. See Abimbola George v. Dominion Flour Mills (1963) All NLR. 71.

— Obaseki, JSC. Salawu Ajide V. Kadiri Kelani (SC.76/1984, 29 Nov 1985)

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COURT TO DETERMINE CASE BASED ON THE PLEADINGS

There is no gainsaying the settled principle of law to the effect that the Court is bound to determine the case before it, as made out by the pleadings of the parties, particularly the Claimant’s or Plaintiff’s cause of action.

– Tukur JCA. Odulate v. FBN (2019)

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REASON FOR THE FORMULATION OF ISSUE IN AN APPEAL

It cannot be over-empahsised that the object of the formulation of issues for determination in an appeal is to enable the parties narrow the issues arising from the grounds of appeal filed in the interest of clarity, brevity and accuracy, thus enabling the court to consider together a number of associated and related grounds of appeal within the issue to which they are related in the determination of the appeal.

– Iguh, JSC. Clay v. Aina (1997)

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LEAVE IS TO BE SOUGHT FOR SUPREME COURT TO DETERMINE AN ISSUE NOT RAISED AT LOWER COURT.

Now, any party to an appeal who seeks the determination of an issue that was never raised at and determined by the trial and/or lower Court must show that it has sought and obtained the leave of the Court earlier. It is long settled that where no leave was sought and obtained, and one is required, the appeal is incompetent and liable to be struck out. See EHINLANWO V. OKE & ORS (2008) LPELR – 1054 (SC) and METUH V. F.R.N (2017) 4 NWLR (PT 1554) 108 at 121.

— M.D. Muhammad, JSC. Friday Charles v. The State of Lagos (SC.CR/503/2020, Friday March 31 2023)

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AVERMENTS IN PLEADINGS NOT ADMITTED MUST BE PROVED

An averment in pleadings is not and has never been considered as legal evidence unless the same has been admitted by the other side to the litigation. Accordingly an averment which is not admitted must be proved or established by evidence. An averment of a material fact in pleadings which is denied but is not established by evidence is worthless and must be discountenanced. In a sense, such an averment may in law be rightly regarded as abandoned. (See generally on the above, Akinfosile v. Ijose (1960) 5 F.S.C. 192; (1960) SCNLR 447; Muraina Akanmu v. Adigun (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt.304) 218 at 231; Obmiami Brick and Stone Ltd v. A.C.B. Ltd (1992) 3 NWLR (Pt.229) 260 at 293 and Anyah v. A.N.N Ltd. (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt.247) 319 at 331.)

– Iguh, JSC. Magnusson v. Koiki (1993) – SC.119/1991

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ISSUE MUST ARISE FROM A GROUND OF APPEAL

I scarcely need to repeat that every issue in an appeal must arise from one or more grounds of appeal. It is usual for one, two or more grounds of appeal to constitute an issue, not the other way round. The reverse could not have arisen if counsel had done well to remember what an issue in an appeal really is.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Petroleum v. Owodunni (1991)

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THE STAGE PLEADINGS ARE SETTLED

The respondent, as plaintiff produced exhibits M, M1 photograph and negative to support averment in her pleadings that she is the daughter of L.O. Ukeje (deceased). The defendant/appellant denied the averment in the plaintiff’s pleadings. At that stage pleadings are settled. At trial, if the defendant seeks to disprove the plaintiffs documentary evidence (i.e. exhibits M, M1) which was used to support her claim to being the daughter of the deceased, the defendant is not bound to plead that the plaintiff’s documentary evidence is false, fraudulent or forged. The defendant is to cross-examine him and lead evidence to show beyond reasonable doubt that exhibit M, M1 are forgeries. This the defendants appellants were unable to do.

– Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Ukeje v. Ukeje (2014)

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