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IF THE JUDGEMENT OF A COURT IS CORRECT, IT WILL NOT BE REVERSED BECAUSE A WRONG LAW WAS RELIED UPON

Dictum

Although the court below relied on the inapplicable 1990 Act or Law in arriving at its said decision, it is now firmly settled that what an appeal has to declare, is whether the decision of the court below, was/is right. If the judgment of a court is correct, it is not liable to reversal merely because it was anchored on a wrong reason or law. In other words, a mistake or error in a judgment, is immaterial provided it has not occasioned a miscarriage of justice. It is not every mistake or error in a judgment, that necessarily, determines an appeal in favour of an appellant. See the cases of Ayeni & 3 Ors. v. Sowemimo (1982) NSCC 104; (1982) 5 S.C. (Reprint) 29; Onajobi v. Olanipekun (1985) 4 S.C. (pt.2) 156 at 163 and Odukwe v. Mrs. Ogunbiyi (1998) 8 NWLR (Pt….) 339 at 351; (1998) 6 SCNJ. 102 at 113 just to mention a few.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Grosvenor v Halaloui (2009) – SC.373/2002

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COURT JUDGEMENT IS VALID UNTIL APPEALED AGAINST

The law is settled that the judgment of any competent Court, once perfected, and not appealed against, is valid and subsisting until it is set aside by competent Court or authority.

– Kekere-ekun JSC. Adegbanke v. Ojelabi (2021)

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MAGISTRATE COURT IS TO DELIVER JUDGEMENT WITHIN TIMEFRAME SET BY THE CONSTITUTION

In any case, section 294(1) of the Constitution is intended to ensure that a court delivers its judgment before the lapse of human memory. Those who preside over the Magistrates’ Court have no claim to better and longer memory than the Judges of Superior Courts, nor can there be a double standard of justice delivery, one in the lower and the other in the High Courts.

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

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JUDGMENT MUST BE CONFINED TO ISSUES RAISED

It is well settled that a judgment must be confined to the issues raised on the pleadings. Where it is otherwise the court will be making a case for the parties by formulating its own case from the evidence and then proceeding to give judgment. No gratuitous awards are to be made by the court.

– Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Oniah v. Onyia (1989)

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JUDGEMENT CONFINED TO ISSUE RAISED

It is a well settled principle of judicial adjudication that the judgment in a lis must be confined to the cause of action and the issues raised on the pleadings See: Ochonma v. Asirim Unosi (1965) NMLR 321. The court cannot grant remedies or reliefs not claimed by the parties. – Karibe-Whyte JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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JUDGEMENT DELIVERED AFTER 90 DAYS; MISCARRIAGE HAS TO BE SHOWN TO SET ASIDE

It seems to me of necessity to stress the obvious that although courts are expected to deliver their decision within 90 days after final addresses, where the stipulated time is however not complied with either due to force majeure, inadvertence or neglect, such decision will not be rendered a nullity, unless and until the appellate court seized of the complaint or appeal is satisfied that such late delivery of judgment has occasioned miscarriage of justice. This to my mind is the true import of the provisions of Section 294(1) and (5) of the 1999 constitution aforementioned. See also the decisions in ATUNGWU VS OCHEKWU (2004) 17 NWLR (PT 901) 18; IGWE VS KALU (2002) 5 NWLR (PT 761) 678 and OLOKOTINTIN VS SARUMT (1997) 1 NWLR (PT 480) 222 AT 232.

— S.C. Oseji, JCA. ACB v Ajugwo (2011) – CA/E/66/2006

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CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE COURT MAY SET ASIDE ITS OWN JUDGEMENT

Circumstances in which a court may invoke its inherent power to set aside its judgment or order are:- (1) To correct any clerical error or mistakes arising from accidental slip or omission or to vary the judgment or order so as to give effect to its meaning or intention under the Rules of Court Order 5 rule 3 Court of Appeal Rules, 1981. (2) Until a court pronounces a judgment on merit or by consent of the parties a court retains the power to set aside its default judgment obtained in the absence of one of the parties or default of pleadings – The power to do so is however discretionary and has to be exercised judiciously. Mohammed v. Husseini (1998) 14 NWLR (Pt.584) 130; paragraphs D-E. Williams v. Hope Rising Voluntary Funds Society (1982) 1-2 SC 145; (3) Where a judgment has been obtained as a result of fraud practiced by one of the parties Ojiaka v. Ogueze(1962) 1 SCNLR 112, (1962) 1 All NLR 58; Ekerete v. Eke (1925) 6 NLR 118; Craig v. Kanseen (1943) K.B. 256; Agunbiade v. Okunoga (1961) 1 All NLR 110. (4) Where a judgment is a nullity, due to a fundamental defect which goes to the issue of jurisdiction and competence of the court. J. A. Folorunso v. Shaloub (1994) 3 NWLR (Pt.333) 413 at 422, paragraphs G-H; Skenconsult (Nig.) Ltd. Ukey (1981) 1 SC 6.

— O.O. Adekeye, JCA. Omotunde v. Omotunde (2000) – CA/I/M.57/2000

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