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DIRECTING PERSONAL ATTENDANCE OF APPELLANT INFRINGES LIBERTY

Dictum

The order of the Court directing the personal attendance of the appellants is an interference with their liberty as provided under Section 35 of the Constitution 1999 (as amended) when there is no law or rules of Court expressly authorizing the infringement.

– Chima Centus Nweze, J.S.C. Independent National Electoral Commission & Anor v. Ejike Oguebego & Ors (2017)

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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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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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DISTINCTION PROPER, DESIRABLE, NECESSARY PARTIES

The locus classicus on the often vexed issue of distinction between ‘proper parties’ ‘desirable parties’ and ‘necessary parties’ is the evergreen case of Green v. Green (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt. 61) 480 at 493 or (1987) 18 NSCC (Pt. 2) 1115. Wherein the supreme court per Oputa JSC (now of blessed memory) held that:- “This now leads one to the consideration of the difference between ‘proper parties’, ‘desirable parties’ and ‘necessary parties.’ Proper parties are those who ought not interested in the plaintiff 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 parties are 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 settled unless they are parties to the action instituted by the plaintiff.”

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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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APPEAL COURT HAS THE POWER TO AMEND PARTIES CAPACITY

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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COURT WILL NOT PUNISH PARTY FOR MISTAKE OF COUNSEL

I think it should be regarded as settled by a long line of decided cases that the Courts do not normally punish a litigant for mistakes of his counsel. But in my opinion, the Court will not regard this as a universal talisman, the waiver of which will act as a panacea in all cases, the Courts must be satisfied not only that the allegation of the … of Counsel is true and genuine but also it is availing having regard to the circumstances of the particular case.

– I.M.M. Saulawa JCA. Owhor v. Obodo (2020) – CA/PH/448/2017

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