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HE WHO ASSERTS MUST PROVE

Dictum

The burden of proving a particular fact is on the party who asserts it. See Okubule v. Oyagbola, (1990) 4 N.W.L.R. (Pt.147) 723; and Ike v. Ugboaja (1993) 6 N.W.L.R. (Pt.301) 539. That is the position in civil cases but the onus does not remain static. It shifts from side to side, where necessary, and the onus of adducing further evidence is on the person who will fail if such evidence was not adduced.

– Adio, JSC. UBN v. Ozigi (1994)

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STANDARD OF PROOF IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

It was not for the appellant to prove that the stick he held did not and could not cause the injuries. It is for the prosecution to prove that its use caused the injuries. The burden does not shift. The standard of proof required is very high. On this point, Lord Diplock says – In criminal proceedings, by an exception to the general rule founded upon considerations of public policy. If the consequence of a finding that a particular fact is proved will be the conviction of the defendant the degree of probability must be so high as to exclude any reasonable doubt that that fact exists. Generally speaking, no onus lies upon a defendant in criminal proceedings to prove or disprove any fact; it is sufficient for his acquittal if any of the acts, which, if they existed, would constitute the offence with which he is charged are ‘not proved’ Per Lord Diplock in Public Prosecutor v. Yuvavaj (1970) A.C. 913 at 921.

— Obaseki, JSC. Adie v. State (1980) – SC24/1978

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CIVIL SUIT IS DECIDED ON THE BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES

Now, civil suits are decided on the balance of probabilities, on the preponderance of evidence. The burden of proof is not static but shifts and the onus of adducing further evidence is on the person who will fail if such evidence is not adduced. See Osuji v Eke [2009] 16 NWLR (Pt 1166) 81.

— O.A. Obaseki-Osaghea, J. Akinsete v Westerngeco (2014) – NICN/LA/516/2012

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WHEN PLAINTIFF’S BURDEN IS MINIMAL

It is settled law that where the party offers no evidence in defence of the case of the plaintiff, the burden placed on the plaintiff is minimal, since there is no evidence to challenge the case of the plaintiff and the plaintiff can use the unchallenged evidence to establish his case. – Onnoghen JSC. Chami v. UBA (2010)

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HE WHO ASSERTS FORGERY MUST PROVE IT

The burden of proving the allegation of falsification and forgery is on the person asserting it, and must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

– Tijjani Abubakar JSC. APC v. Obaseki (2021)

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PROOF REQUIRED UNDER EVIDENCE ACT NOT APPLICABLE TO ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS

Proof as required under the Evidence Act is not applicable in arbitral proceedings as provided for in Section 256(1)(a) of the Act which says that: “This Act shall apply to all judicial proceedings in or before any Court established in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but it shall not apply to – (a) Proceeding be an arbitrator.” Absence of evidence in proof of facts submitted to an arbitrator, required under the Evidence Act, is not a ground for setting aside an arbitral award.

– Garba, JCA. Dunlop v. Gaslink (2018)

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PLAINTIFF MUST RELY ON HIS OWN STRENGTH, NOT WEAKNESS OF THE DEFENCE

It is settled that in a claim for declaratory reliefs, the plaintiff must prove his entitlement thereto, by cogent and credible evidence. He must rely on the strength of his own case and not on the weakness of the defence. Indeed, a declaratory relief will not be granted on the basis of an admission by the adverse party. See MOHAMMED V WAMMAKO (2018)7 NWLR (pt 1619) 573 at 591 – 592. — M.L. Shuaibu, JCA. Ekpo v GTB (2018) – CA/C/324/2013

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