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DOING SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE IN ALL CASES

Dictum

Niki Tobi(JSC) (Blessed memory) in Samuel Ayo Omoju v. FRN [2008]ALL FWLR (Pt.415) 1656 at1671-1672 paras. G-B; espoused on doing substantial justice in all cases quipped thus – Substantial justice, which is actual and concrete justice, is justice personified. It is secreted in the elbows of cordial and fair jurisprudence with a human face and understanding. It is excellent to follow in our law. It pays to follow it as it brings invaluable dividends in any legal system anchored or predicated on the rule of law.

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COURT HAS TO ADMINISTER THE STATUTES LAW

It would fall far short of ideal justice between man and man if, where no third party had been prejudiced by the omission, a party to a contract could evade his obligations merely be- cause the other party had not gone to a government office and registered the contract, but the courts have to administer the statute law as it stands and since the submission has been made the Court must consider its validity.

— Brett, JSC. Fakoya v Paul (1966) – SC. 238/1964

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TECHNICAL VS SUBSTANTIVE JUSTICE

There is also the view of some counsel that the decision in Okafor v. Nweke had to do with technical justice. I agree that the age of technical justice is gone. The current vogue is substantial justice. See: Dada v. Dosumu (2006) 12 PNJSC 115. But substantial justice can only be attained not by bending the law but by applying it as it is; not as it ought to be. There is nothing technical in applying the provisions of sections 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act as it is drafted by the Legislature. The law should not be bent to suit the whims and caprices of the parties/counsel. One should not talk of technicality when a substantive provision of the law is rightly invoked.

— J.A. Fabiyi, JSC. FBN v. Maiwada (2012) – SC.269/2005

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JUSTICE OF THE CASE IS DETERMINED BY THE FACTS OF THE CASE

Justice of a case cannot be determined in vacuo but in relation to the facts of the case. Justice so to say, which is not done within the facts of a case is not justifice properly so called but justice in inverted commas and therefore injustice.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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MISTAKE TO CAUSE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE

It is now settled law, that it is not every mistake in a judgment or decision that can warrant the reversal of a decision. To justify a reversal of a decision, the error complained of must be of such a nature to cause real miscarriage of justice. In the instant case, the fact that a breach was considered, even if erroneously, in appeal which does not concern the appellant, cannot be a basis for the appellant to complain.

– Musdapher JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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JUSTICE DOES NOT TILT BY VIRTUE OF THE PERSONS BEFORE THE COURT

By our trial process court relies on what parties have lawfully brought before the court and their evidence In support of those matters will dictate where the scale of justice tilts. But under no circumstances will the scale be tilted by virtue of the personalities In a case or importance of a case In the eyes of the public, for cases are not decided by public acclaim, I lathe lawful evidence that influence the fate of every case.

— Belgore, JSC. Foreign Finance Corp. v Lagos State Devt. & Pty. Corp. & Ors. (1991) – SC. 9/1988

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