Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

FAIR HEARING IS TRIAL ACCORDING TO ALL LEGAL RULES

Dictum

The law is indeed well settled that fair hearing within the meaning of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), means a trial or hearing conducted according to all legal rules formulated to ensure that justice is done to the parties. It requires the observation or observance of the twin pillars of the rules of natural justice, namely audi alterem partem and nemo judex in causa sua. These rules, the obligation to hear the other side of a dispute or the right of a party in dispute to be heard, is so basic and fundamental a principle of our adjudicatory system in the determination of disputes that it cannot be compromised on any ground. See Per PETER-ODILI, JSC in EYE v. FRN (2018) LPELR-43599(SC) (P. 28-30, PARA. A).

— U.M. Abba Aji, JSC. State v. Andrew Yanga (SC.712/2018, 15 Jan 2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

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

Was this dictum helpful?

NOT ALL FAILURE TO PRONOUNCE ON ALL ISSUES WILL RESULT IN BREACH OF FAIR HEARING

Now while a Court has a duty to pronounce on all the key issues in a matter, it is not every failure of a Court to pronounce on issues that would constitute a breach of fundamental right to fair hearing. See: C.N. OKPALA & SONS LTD v. NB PLC (2017) LPELR-43826(SC); FODE DRILLING (NIG) LTD v. FABBY & ORS (2017) LPELR-42822(CA); and SAIPEM CONTRACTING (NIG) LTD & ORS v. FIRS & ORS (2018) LPELR-45118(CA).

— J.Y. Tukur, JCA. Fani-Kayode v. FRN & Ors. (2019) – CA/L/722C/2018

Was this dictum helpful?

THE FUNDAMENTALISM OF FAIR HEARING – STATUTORY AND CONSTITUTIONAL

Now it has been held that the principle of or doctrine of fair hearing in its statutory and constitutional form is derived from the principle of natural justice under the twin pillars of audi alteram partem and nemo judex in causa sua. The principle of fair hearing is fundamental to the administration of justice as enshrined under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). It hinges on the conduct of a hearing which is fair to both parties to the suit and without bias or partiality in favour or against either of them who will thereby be prejudiced. See Ude v. State (2012) LPELR 14193 (CA); Uguru v. The State (2002) 9 NWLR (Pt. 771) 90; Newswatch Communications (CA) v. Attah (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 993) 144; Ovunwo v. Woko (2011) 6 SCNJ (Pt. 1) 124; Nosepetco Oil and Gas Ltd v. Olorunimbe (2012) 10 NWLR (Pt. 1307) 115. In Egbuchu v. Continental Merchant Bank Plc (2016) NWLR (Pt. 1513) 192 at 207, the apex Court held inter alia that: “The Constitutional provision for fair hearing mainly stems or germinates from two common law principles of natural justice. They are audi alteram partem and nemo judex in causa sua. The meaning of the Latinism is, hear the other party; hear both sides. No man should be condemned unheard. What the rule or doctrine of fair hearing means is that the parties must be given equal opportunity to present their case to the Court and no party should be given more opportunity or advantage in the presentation of his case.” See also Inakoju v. Adeleke (2007) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1025) 423. The issue of fair hearing is so fundamental and germane that any proceeding conducted without fair hearing amounts to a nullity and is bound to be set aside. See Tsokwa Motors (Nig) Ltd v. UBA Plc (2008) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1071) 347; Egbuchu v. Continental Merchant Bank Plc supra; Adigun v. Oyo State (1987) 1 NWLR (Pt. 53) 678.

— S.C. Oseji, JCA. Access Bank v Edo State BIR (2018) – CA/B/333/2015

Was this dictum helpful?

FAIR HEARING APPLIES FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END OF THE TRIAL

From its tenor, therefore, the Court is required to conduct the trial or hearing of a case with all fairness to both parties to the suit and without bias or partiality in favour of, or against either party. That is the rationale for the prescription that a complaint of breach of fair hearing is usually against the Court or Tribunal, whether the parties before the Court were afforded equal opportunity to fully ventilate their grievance. Okanlawon v. State (2015) LPELR-24838 (SC) 52-53; E-B; Peters Pam and Anor v. Mohammed and Anor (2008) 5-6 SC (Pt. 1) 83; Deduwa v. Okorodudu (1976) NMLR 236, 246; 9-10 SC 329. Such is its primacy in our administration of justice that no decision can be regarded as valid unless the trial Judge or Court has heard both sides in the conflict. State v. Onagoruwa (1992) LPELR -3228 (SC) 33; D-E; Deduwa v. Okorodudu (supra). This test of fair hearing applies once a trial has commenced, after issue has been joined, State v. Onagoruwa (supra); nay more, it applies from the beginning to the end of the trial. Oyewole v. Akande and Anor (2009) LPELR-2879 (SC) 36-37; Deduwa v. Okorodudu (1976) 9 -10 SC 329; News Watch Comm. Ltd. v. Attah (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 993) 144; A. G Rivers State v. Ude (2006) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1008) 436.

— C.C. Nweze JSC. Onuwa Kalu v. The State (SC.474/2011, 13 Apr 2017)

Was this dictum helpful?

DECISION VOID WHERE NATURAL JUSTICE IS ABSENT

Adigun v. Attorney- General of Oyo State (1987) 2 NWLR (Pt. 56) 197 where the Supreme Court stated: “If the principles of natural justice are violated in respect of any decision, it is indeed immaterial, whether the same decision would have been arrived at in the absence of the departure from the essential principles of justice. The decision must be declared as no decision.”

Was this dictum helpful?

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

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.