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FOUR CONDITIONS, ON ANY, ORDER OF CERTIORARI MAY BE GRANTED

Dictum

De Smith, the learned author of “Judicial Review of Administrative Action” 4th Edition at pages 396-407 thereof listed four conditions on any one of which the order of certiorari may be granted. The four conditions are: 1. Lack of jurisdiction. 2. Breach of rules of natural justice. 3. Error of law on the face of the records, and 4. Decision obtained by fraud or collusion.

— Ngwuta JSC. The State v. Monsurat Lawal (SC. 80/2004, 15 Feb 2013)

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CERTIORARI IS USED TO CHECK THE EXCESSES OF INFERIOR COURTS

The prerogative writ of certiorari process is meant to provide a supervisory process or measure to check the excesses, arbitrariness of inferior courts or tribunals: Rex v. Northumberland Compensation Appeal Tribunal Ex-parte Shaw (1952) 1 KB 338 at 346 347. This decision of the English court was considered and applied in Oduwole v. Famakinwa (1990) 4 NWLR (Pt. 143) 239 at 251. See further the cases of Queen v. District Officer (Ex-parte Eti Atem) (1961) All NLR 55 (Reprint); Agwuegbo v. Kagoma (2000) FWLR (Pt. 19) 511, (2000) 14 NWLR (Pt. 687) 252 at 269. The certiorari procedure is available under section 272(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and various State High Court Laws and High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules. This powers of control of inferior courts or tribunals by the High Court is exercised by A means of quashing any decision of an inferior court which on the face of it is excessive, arbitrary or oppressive.

— Galadima JSC. The State v. Monsurat Lawal (SC. 80/2004, 15 Feb 2013)

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WHEN THE RELIEF OF CERTIORARI IS AVAILABLE

The relief of Certiorari is usually available where any of the following condition is established in the decision or act of an inferior Court/tribunal. (i.) Lack of or excess of jurisdiction; (ii.) Error on the face of record of an inferior Court or tribunal; (iii.) Breach of observance of natural justice regarding fair hearing. See the case of Ekpo vs. Calabar Local Govt. Council (1993) 3 NWLR (pt.281) 324; Ezenwa vs. Bestway Electric MFT Co Ltd (1999) 18 NWLR (Pt. 613) at 82.

— I.G. Mbaba, JCA. Okorie v Chukwu [2014] – CA/OW/35/2012

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A PERSON CAN APPLY FOR ORDER OF CERTIORARI EVEN IF HE HAS A RIGHT OF APPEAL

In other words, once grounds for bringing application for order of certiorari exists, a person aggrieved by the decision or order of an inferior court or tribunal can apply for an order of certiorari to issue, even though he has a right of appeal also against the order or decision. With the statutory provisions also on the ground, there is no doubt whatsoever that the High Court of Justice of Oyo State before which the appellants filed their application by prerogative writ of certiorari asking that court to quash the entire proceedings of the 1st respondent’s Senior Magistrates’ Court culminating in the undated judgment convicting them of the offences of conspiracy, assault occasioning grievous harm and malicious damage, has jurisdiction to entertain their case.

— M. Mohammed JSC. The State v. Monsurat Lawal (SC. 80/2004, 15 Feb 2013)

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CERTIORARI ENABLES THE HIGH COURT ACT AS WATCH DOGS OVER INFERIOR COURTS

The law is well settled that the prerogative writ of certiorari is available under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 in section 272(2) and the various State High Court laws and the State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules to empower the various High Courts to act as watch dogs over judicial activities of inferior courts or tribunals. The process is meant to provide a supervisory process to keep in check the excesses and arbitrariness of such courts. Denning L. J. (as he then was) precisely put it in Rex v. Northumberland Compensation Appeal Tribunal Ex-parte Shaw (1952) 1 KB 338 at 346-347 thus: “The court of king’s bench has inherent jurisdiction to control all inferior tribunals, not in an appellate capacity, but in a supervisory capacity…This control extends not only to seeing that inferior tribunals keep within jurisdiction, but alsoto seeing that they observe the law. The control is exercised by means of a power to quash any determination…which on the face of it offends against the law.”

— M. Mohammed JSC. The State v. Monsurat Lawal (SC. 80/2004, 15 Feb 2013)

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THE HIGH COURT HAS UNFETTERED POWERS TO CONTROL INFERIOR COURTS VIA CERTIORARI

Queen v. District Officer and Anor. (Ex-parte Eti Atem) (1961)All NLR 55 (Reprint) where Ademola, CJF (of the blessed memory) put it pointedly thus at page 58: “Now it is clear that it is of the utmost importance that the court should act to prevent an injustice being done when the remedy sought is within its powers to grant. This to my mind, is one of such matters in which the court should act. The High Court has an inherent powers, unfettered by statute, to control inferior tribunals in a supervisory capacity. Such control is by means of certiorari to keep the inferior tribunal within the law, within bounds and within such jurisdiction as the legislature deemed fit to confer upon it.” See also the case of Agwuegbo v. Kagoma (2000) FWLR (Pt. 19) 511, (2000) 14 NWLR (Pt. 687) 252 at 269, a judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division in which I affirmed the order of certiorari issued by the High Court of Justice of Kaduna State quashing the proceedings, judgment conviction and sentence and other orders made by the Kaduna Rent Tribunal.

— M. Mohammed JSC. The State v. Monsurat Lawal (SC. 80/2004, 15 Feb 2013)

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