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INELEGANCE OF BRIEF WILL NOT DEFEAT MERIT OF A CASE

Dictum

However, since the introduction of brief writing way back in 1985 in the apex court, it has been the availing principle and practice that inelegance of a brief of argument should not defeat the merits of a case. Thus, as much as possible, the brief should be salvaged unless it is legally impossible to do so. See Ndukwe v The State 37 NSCQR 425 @ 484; (2009) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1139) 39; Amghare v Sylva (2009) I NWLR (Pt.1121) 1@ 53; Lawal v. Salami (2002) 2 NWLR (Pt. 752) 687: Lawal v. Oke (2001) 7 NWLR (Pt. 711) 88.

— Saulawa, JSC. Enobong v. The State (2022) – SC/CR/249/2020

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DILIGENCE IN PREPARING BRIEFS

Before I conclude this judgment I would like to say a word or two about the lack of due care and attention with which the briefs in this appeal were prepared and filed. The appellant’s brief contained not less than fifteen grammatical errors in six pages of the brief. Such numerous grammatical mistakes cannot be written off on the altar of the usual excuse – “typographical error”. It shows utter lack of care in the preparations of the brief. Briefs, like pleadings and every other document prepared for filing in court are serious and I may add solemn documents. They require great industry, great concentration and great care and attention in their preparation, vetting and proof-reading before they are filed in Court. A brief or pleading which is replete with grammatical errors is irksome to the reader and annoying to the Judge.

– Ubaezonu JCA. Coker v. Adetayo (1992)

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BRIEFS SHOULD BE CONCISE AND DEAL WITH THE ISSUES ARISING

On another look at the whole of the respondent’s brief, it can be seen that the brief is not elegantly written, besidesthis, it is very verbose and full of a lot of repetitions. The trial court’s judgment is only fourteen pages, it is from this that the respondent’s counsel wrote a brief of 62 pages. This no doubt defeats the essence of brief writing. Briefs should be concise and deal with the issues that arose from the appeal and relate to the word “Brief”. It defeats the whole intendment of brief writing if one will spend the whole day or night reading one brief. This can be excusable in a very complicated matter where there are so many appellants with many notices of appeals and also cross-appeals or where many cases are consolidated but not in this case which is a very simple matter.

— Opene JCA. United Bank for Africa (UBA) v. Samuel Igelle Ujor (CA/C/134/99, 20 FEB 2001)

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INELEGANT BRIEF WILL BE CONSIDERED

I must point out at the onset that the appellant’s brief is sketchy, clumsy and inelegant. It cannot be said to be strictly in compliance with the provisions of Order 6 of the Rules of this court, 1984, as amended. But be that as it may, it is a brief that should be considered in the interest of justice. See Akpan v. State (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt. 248) 439; Obiora v. Osele (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt. 97) 279 at 300.

— Rowland, JCA. Alex O. Odudu v. Emmanuel O. Onyibe (CA/B/138/98, 15 Mar 2001)

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LACK OF RESPONDENT BRIEF DOES NOT PUT THE APPELLANT AT AN ADVANTAGE

Not filing respondents brief in no way puts the appellant at an advantage, since the judgment of the Court of Appeal is a favour of the respondent. The appellant still has to show that the Judgment of the court of Appeal was wrong.

– Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Cameroon v. Otutuizu (2011) – SC.217/2004

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