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FAIR HEARING IS SYNONYMOUS WITH FAIR TRIAL

Dictum

Fair hearing has been interpreted by the courts to be synonymous with fair trial and as implying that every reasonable and fair minded observer who watches the proceedings should be able to come to the conclusion that the court or other tribunal has been fair to all the parties concerned.

– Ejiwunmi JSC. Unibiz v. Lyonnais (2003)

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ONE CANNOT BE A WITNESS AND A JUDGE AT THE SAME TIME

This submission is incontestible. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor cannot be a witness and a judge all at the same time. The likelihood of bias is a necessary inference from the assumption of the two positions. – Andrews Otutu Obaseki, JSC. Garba & Ors. v. The University Of Maiduguri (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.18) 550

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FAIR HEARING APPLIES TO QUASI JUDICIAL BODIES

It is the very antithesis of justice to agree to the suggestion that a quasi-judicial body like the LPDC should not obey the rules of fair hearing.

– Ogunwumiju JSC. Gbenoba v. LPDC (2021)

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FAIR HEARING CONSTRUED IN RELATION TO FACT OF CASE

Fair hearing is not expression of mere rhetoric or empty verbalism but a fundamental right of the individual guaranteed in the Constitution, the breach of which will nullify the proceedings in favour of the victim. The constitutional guarantee is construed in the light of the facts of the case and the facts alone. It cannot be construed outside the facts.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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LACK OF FAIR HEARING AND JURISDICTION VITIATES PROCEEDINGS

The proceedings before the Disciplinary Investigation Panel in this case are vitiated from two angles. Firstly the Panel lacked the constitutional and legal competence to undertake the inquiry and arrive at a conclusion that the Appellants were the culprits in serious criminal offences of Arson, Malicious Damage and Indecent Assault. Secondly, the incompetent inquiry which it conducted was further vitiated by its failure to accord the appellants fair hearing either under the rules of natural justice or under the provisions of Section 33 of the 1979 Constitution.

– Oputa, J.S.C. Garba & Ors. v. The University Of Maiduguri (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.18) 550

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COURT WILL SET ASIDE MOTION EX PARTE MADE ON SUPPRESSED FACT – ISSUE OF FAIR HEARING DOES NOT ARISE

Further, the Appellant alleged lack of fair hearing, to this I would say that the allegation was not substantiated. It is not enough to waive the flag of lack of fair hearing and nothing more. Fair hearing is a two way traffic which both parties ought to enjoy or entitled to. The Respondent in the present case was entitled to be heard before an order that affects him should be made and having been made ex – parte, the Respondent was entitled to have it reviewed by the trial court after other facts with exhibits in support were made known to the lower court as deposed in the affidavit in support of the application to set aside the ex – parte order before the expiration of the 120 days granted. See, MFA & ORS VS. INONGHA (2014) (supra). If the Appellant had laid down the facts of the case as they were at the time the lower court granted the application, the lower court would not have been misled to have granted the ex – parte order which the court set aside, that led to the present appeal, had the facts not been suppressed the lower court would have arrived at a different decision.

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

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SHOULD NOT RECEIVE EVIDENCE FROM ONE SIDE BEHIND THE BACK OF ANOTHER

Lord Denning in KANDA V GOVERNMENT OF MALAYA [1962] AC 322, stated thus: “If the right to be heard is to be real right which is worth anything, it must carry with it a right of the accused man to know the case which is made against him. He must know what evidence has been given and what statement had been made affecting him, and then must be given an opportunity to correct or contradict them. This appears in all the cases from the celebrated judgments of Lord Loreburn, L.G in The Board of Education v Rice down to the decision of their Lordships’ Board in Ceylon University v Fernando. It follows therefore that the judge or whoever has to adjudicate must not hear evidence or receive representation from one side behind the back of the other. The Court will not inquire whether the evidence did work his prejudice. The risk of it is enough. No one who has lost a case will believe he has been fairly treated if the other side has had access to the judge without his knowing.”

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