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GROUNDS OF APPEAL MUST BE BASED ON THE CONTROVERSY / DISPUTE

Dictum

In all cases, the subject matter for determination must be an issue in controversy between the parties. The decision appealed against must have decided the issue. In every appeal, the issue or issues in controversy are fixed and circumscribed by a statement of the part of the decision appealed against. Hence, the grounds of appeal must ex necessitate be based on such issues in controversy – See Niger Construction Co. Ltd v. Okugbeni (1987)4 NWLR. (Pt.67) 787. Where a ground of appeal cannot be fixed and circumscribed within a particular issue in controversy in the judgment challenged, such ground of appeal cannot justifiably be regarded as related to the decision. A fortiori, no issue for determination can be formulated therefrom.

— A.G. Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Saraki v. Kotoye (1992) – S.C. 250/1991

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GROUND WILL BE ABANDONED WHERE NO ARGUMENT SUBMISSION FOR SAME

I have to observe that learned counsel for the appellants did not make any submission in relation to issue No C as formulated by him in the brief of argument and is consequently deemed to have been abandoned.

– WS Onnoghen, JSC. Calabar CC v. Ekpo (2008)

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ISSUE RAISED MUST BE RELATED TO A COMPETENT GROUND OF APPEAL

Issues arising for determination of an appeal are determined by the number of competent grounds of appeal filed by the appellant challenging the decision of the court being appealed against. The law is that neither a party nor a court is permitted to raise or deal with any issue which is not related to or does not arise from any ground or grounds of appeal. See Oniah v. Onyia (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt.99) 514; Nwosu v. Udeaja (1990) 1 NWLR (Pt. 125) 188 and Mark v. Eke (2004) 5 NWLR (Pt.865) 54 at 82. Therefore since the two issues formulated in the 1st respondent’s brief have the backing of the grounds of appeal filed by the appellants, they are relevant for the determination of this appeal. The remaining four issues in the appellants’ brief are equally potent having regard to the grounds of appeal in their support.

— Mohammed, JSC. C.S.S. Bookshops v. Muslim Community & Ors. (2006) – SC.307/2001

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USE MOTION ON NOTICE TO CHALLENGE SOME OF THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL

Inspector Isa Sarki V. John Lamela (2016) LPELR — 40338 (CA), the Court of Appeal stated, “It is the law that where the purpose of an objection is merely to challenge some of the grounds of appeal and not the competence of the entire appeal, the best procedure is by way of a motion on notice since its success would not in any way terminate the entire appeal in limine. On the other hand, where the purpose of an objection is to terminate in limine the entirety of the appeal, the best procedure is by way of a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the entire appeal.”

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WHERE PARTICULARS NOT IN SUPPORT OF GROUND, GROUND IS INCOMPETENT

Access Bank Plc v Sijuwade (2016) LPELR 40188 (CA) per Danjuma JCA: “… the sum total of all legal principles and judicial precedents on the relationship between ground of appeal and supporting particulars is that on reading a ground of appeal and its particulars, the adverse party must be left in no doubt as to what the complaint of the appellant is. In other words, a ground of appeal and its particulars go together. Where the particulars in support of ground are not related to the ground, the ground is incompetent. See Hambe v Hueze (2001) 2 SC 26.”

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MOTION ON NOTICE FOR OFFENDING GROUNDS

Where other grounds of appeal can sustain an appeal a Preliminary objection should not be filed, rather a Motion of Notice should be filed against the offending grounds of appeal. – Rhodes-Vivour JSC. Nwaolisah v. Nwabufoh (2011)

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APPEALING MIXED LAW AND FACT REQUIRES LEAVE OF COURT

Where the law or rule prescribed the procedure to be taken in the performance of an act is not complied with, the performance of the act in the circumstance is a nullity. Section 233 (3) (a) provides that subject to the provisions of “Subsection (2) of this section, an appeal shall lie from the decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court with leave of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.” In other words, a party desiring to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court on mixed law and facts or facts is required to obtain the leave of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court to file the notice and grounds of appeal.

— W.S.N. Onnoghen, JSC. SPDC v Agbara (2019) – SC.731/2017(R)

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