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FUNCTION OF A REPLY BRIEF

Dictum

In Ecobank Plc v. Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (2018) LPELR 45124 (SC), it was held: I need to emphasize that the function of a Reply Brief is to answer the arguments in the Respondents brief which were not taken in the Appellants brief. It is not meant to be a repetition of the arguments in the Appellants brief. It is not an opportunity to re-emphasize the arguments in the Appellants brief.

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A REPLY ON POINTS OF LAW IS NOT MEANT FOR RE-ARGUING ONE’S CASE

A reply on points of law is meant to be just what it is, a reply on points of law. It is not meant for the party replying on points of law to reargue its case or bring in points it forgot to advance when it filed its final written address. A reply on points of law is thus not meant to improve on the quality of a written address; it is not a repair kit to correct or put right an error or lacuna in the initial brief of argument. See Dr Augustine N. Mozie & ors v. Chike Mbamalu [2006] 12 SCM (Pt. I) 306; [2006] 27 NSCQR 425, Basinco Motors Limited v. Woermann Line & anor [2009] 13 NWLR (Pt. 1157) 149; [2009] 8 SCM 103, Ecobank (Nig) Ltd v. Anchorage Leisures Ltd & ors [2016] LPELR-40220(CA), UBA Plc v. Ubokolo [2009] LPELR-8923(CA) and Musaconi Ltd v. Aspinall [2013] LPELR-20745(SC).

— B.B. Kanyip, J. Awogu v TFG Real Estate (2018) – NICN/LA/262/2013

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ESSENCE OF A REPLY BRIEF

The essence of a reply brief is not to reopen argument already canvassed. It is to reply to new issues that have arisen in the respondents brief of argument. — P.A. Galumje, JSC.

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PURPOSE OF A REPLY BRIEF

A Reply Brief is meant to explain or contest fresh issue of law raised in the Respondents brief, which was not canvassed in/by the Appellants Brief. – Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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ESSENCE OF A REPLY BRIEF

The learned senior counsel appeared to have been unaware of the essence of a reply brief. It is not for a repetition or improvement of arguments in the appellant’s brief. Appellant need not repeat issues joined either by emphasis or expatiation.

– Ngwuta, J.S.C. Danladi v. Dangiri (2014)

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IT IS NOT NECESSARY FOR A PLAINTIFF TO FILE A REPLY

In the cited case ofAli v. Salihu (2011) 1 NWLR (Pt.1228) 227 at 253, this Court, per Shadipe JCA stated thus – “The law is no doubt settled that a reply is not filed to a statement of defence as of course. Further pleadings by way of reply is to be filed for the purpose of bringing parties to an issue. It is not necessary for a plaintiff to file a reply if the only purpose to be so achieved is to deny any of the allegations the defendant may have made in the statement of defence. This is because if no reply is filed all the material allegations/facts in the statement of defence are in issue. A reply to merely join issues is therefore not permissible. See paragraph 18.06 of the Practice and Procedure of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Courts of Nigeria by T. A. Aguda. The purpose of filing of a reply to a statement of defence has been succinctly stated by Kawu, JSC; in the case of Akinremi (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.108) 164 at page 172, paras, F-G as follows:- “Now, the rule of practice is that where no counter-claim is filed, a reply is generally unnecessary if its sole object is to raise, in answer to the defence, any matters which must be specifically pleaded, which make the defence not maintainable or which otherwise might take the defence by surprise or which raise issues of facts not arising out of the defence – Bullen and Leake and Jacob’s Precedents of Pleadings, 12th Edition, p.107 (Also see Williamson v. London and North Western Railway Company (1879) 12 Ch. D 787, 794). Reply is the proper place for meeting the defence by confession and avoidance. Hall v. Eve (1876) 4 Ch.D 341.”

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REPLY BRIEF TO ATTACK NEW ISSUE(S)

The purpose of Reply Brief is to tackle new issues or argument raised in the respondents’ Brief of Argument and not dealt with in the appellant’s Brief of Argument otherwise a Reply Brief would be tantamount to a repetition of the appellant’s main Brief. In other words, it should not serve as a forum for reopening the appellant’s case over again. And where it is coterminous in every respect with the appellant’s main Brief, it should be discountenanced.

– Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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