Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

IF IT CANNOT BE SAID WHO SIGNED A PROCESS, THE PROCESS IS INCURABLY BAD

Dictum

RHODES-VIVOUR, JSC in SLB CONSORTIUM v NNPC (2011) 9 NWLR (PT. 1252) P. 317 opined that: “Once it cannot be said who signed a process, it is incurably bad and rules of Court that seem to provide a remedy are of no use as a rule cannot override the law (i.e the Legal Practitioners Act)”

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

STATEMENT OF CLAIM WHICH HAS BEEN AMENDED DOES NOT CEASE TO EXIST, BUT CANNOT DETERMINE LIVE ISSUES

Again, the Appellants are spot-on that this Court can look at the Respondent’s original pleadings because it is settled law that a statement of claim or defence, which has been duly amended, does not cease to exist: it still forms part of the proceedings and a Court cannot close its eyes to it -see Salami V. Oke (1987) 4 NWLR (Pt. 63)150, Agbaisi V. Ebikorefe (1997) 4 NWLR (Pt. 502) 630 SC, A.S.E.S.A. V. Ekwenem (2009)13 NWLR (Pt. 1158) 370 at 436 SC. But this does not mean that the original pleadings can be the basis of a Party’s case nor may a Court rely on it for its Judgment. It is just that the original pleadings that was amended “no longer determines or defines the live issues to be tried before the Court; not that it no longer exists” see Agbahomovo V. Eduyegbe (1999)3 NWLR (Pt. 594)170 SC. Thus, such original pleadings cannot be deemed to have been expunged or struck out. It certainly exists.

— A.A. Augie, JSC. Berger v Toki Rainbow (2019) – SC.332/2009

Was this dictum helpful?

PAPER OF WRIT, PETITION, AND OTHER COURT PROCESSES COULD REPLACE AN AFFIDAVIT

I acknowledge that there is no hard and fast rule that a preliminary objection must be supported by an affidavit so long as enough material is placed before the trial court on which it can judicially and judiciously pronounce on the preliminary objection. Where the alleged offending writ, petition or other court process ex facie contains the relevant information against which an objection is being raised, the necessity to rely on affidavit evidence does not arise. See Bello v. National Bank of Nigeria [1992] 6 NWLR (Pt. 246) 206 at 219 (per Achike, JCA, as he then was).

— B.B. Kanyip J. FG v. ASUU (2023) – NICN/ABJ/270/2022

Was this dictum helpful?

A LEGAL PROCESS MUST BE SIGNED BY EITHER THE LEGAL PRACTITIONER OR LITIGANT

It is trite that it is the seal or signature, of the author on a document that authenticates the document. A legal document or process of Court must be settled or signed by either the legal practitioner of the choice of the litigant or the litigant himself. The disputed processes were purportedly settled or signed by a legal practitioner, whose identity is unknown. Where ex facie a Court process it is uncertain if the process was signed by the litigant or the legal practitioner representing him, the process is incompetent. Court processes must either be signed by the litigant himself or by the legal practitioner retained by him. A Court process that purports to be settled by a legal practitioner must, as a requirement of statute, have not only the signature of the legal practitioner but also his name clearly shown and indicating that the signature is his. The decision of this Court in SLB CONSTRUCTION v. NNPC (2011) 9 NWLR (Pt.1252) 317 at 336 -337 and many others on Court processes prepared and filed by a legal practitioner clearly demonstrate that for the signature thereon appended to be valid, it must be traceable to a legal practitioner. The process must have the signature or mark of the legal practitioner either against his name, or over and above his name.

– Ejembi, JSC. GTB v. Innoson (2017) – SC.694/2014(R)

Was this dictum helpful?

PROCESS SIGNED BY A FIRM OF LEGAL PRACTITIONERS IS NOT VALID IN LAW

The said section 573(1) of Companies and Allied Matters Act Provides as follows:- ‘Every individual firm or corporation having a place of business in Nigeria and carrying on business under a business name shall be registered in the manner provided in this part of this Act The above is not an authority that can be relied upon to uphold the view that a process signed and filed by a firm of legal practitioners which has no live is valid in law. The general provision of the law as in section 573(1) of Companies and Allied Matters Act is subject to the specific provisions of section 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act. See: FMBN v. Olloh (2002) 4 SC (Pt. 11) 177 at 122-123; Kraps Thompson Org.v. NIPSS (2004) 5 SC (Pt.1) 16 at 20-21.

— J.A. Fabiyi, JSC. FBN v. Maiwada (2012) – SC.269/2005

Was this dictum helpful?

UNSIGNED DOCUMENT IS A WORTHLESS PIECE OF PAPER

In the case of Uzokwelu v. PDP & Ors [2018] LPELR- 43737CA, The law is settled that an unsigned document is a worthless paper. It is inadmissible and where admitted, it cannot be relied upon by the Court to resolve any controversy between the parties as no weight or probative value can be attached to an unsigned document.

Was this dictum helpful?

PROCESS TO BE EXHIBITED ALONGSIDE APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME

Besides the preliminary objection, the defendant did not file any other defence process within the time allowed it by the Court. The application by the defendant for leave to extend this time was rejected by the Court since copies of the defence processes were not exhibited alongside the application for extension of time. This meant that the defendant had no defence process in this suit.

— B.B. Kanyip, J. FG v. ASUU (2023) – NICN/ABJ/270/2022

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.