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INTRODUCTION OF ORIGINATING SUMMONS

Dictum

The English Common Law which Nigeria received has developed a corpus juris on when an action can and cannot be commenced by originating summons. The procedure for originating summons came into the English Legal System by the Chancery Procedure Act of 1852 which replaced the old mode of commencing proceedings in the Court of Chancery by “bill” with the commencement of a suit in certain cases only by summons originating proceedings in chambers. In 1883, the rules of the Supreme Court 1875 were stated and the term originating summons was for the first time introduced. See Re Holloway (A solicitor ex-parte Pallister (1894) 2 QS 163. See also Re Priver, Lindsell v. Phillips (1885) 30 Ch. D 291; In Re Giles Real and Personal Coy v. Michell (1890) 43 Ch. 0391; Nutten v. Holland (1894) 3 Ch. 408.

— Niki Tobi JSC. Pam & Anor. V Mohammed (2008) – SC.238/2007

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WHERE ORIGINATING SUMMONS IS TO BE USED

The law is already trite that, before a proceeding can be commenced by originating summons, the construction of a written law, or instrument made there under or deed or will or contract or other document must be in issue. It means that in any of such cases certain questions must have arisen for determination with reference to such document and it is these questions and the accompanying reliefs or prayers that embody the issues for determination in the action.

– Bage JCA. Ayetobi v. Taiwo (2014)

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ORIGINATING SUMMONS NOT FOR CONTENTIOUS FACTS

The practice is usually that originating summons is not a proper procedure where contentious issues of fact are to be resolved by the court.

– AKA’AHS, J.S.C. Danladi v. Dangiri (2014)

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CLAIM DETERMINES IF AN ORIGINATING SUMMONS IS APPROPRIATE

From the above therefore, the first duty of a trial judge, where action are begun or initiated by means of an originating summons procedure, is to examine the claim before him, and then to ascertain whether the procedure in originating summons was suitable or appropriate to the action. This first step, is sine qua-non to his assuming jurisdiction on the matter.

– Bage JCA. Ayetobi v. Taiwo (2014)

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ORIGINATING SUMMONS CANNOT BE USED WHERE FACTS ARE IN DISPUTE

It is now firmly settled that an Originating Summons, is an unusual method of commencing proceedings in the High Court and it is confined to cases where special statutory provisions exist for its application. It is not advisable, to make use of this procedure for hostile proceedings where the facts are in dispute as in the instant case leading to this appeal.

– I.F. Ogbuagu JSC. Osunbade v. Oyewunmi (2007) – SC.79/2002

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ORIGINATING SUMMONS NOT SUITABLE WHERE FACTS ARE IN DISPUTE

The law is indeed well settled that Originating Summons procedure for initiating action is not suitable and therefore not available for action involving hostile proceedings where the facts are seriously in dispute.

– Mahmud, JSC. Elelu-Habeeb v. A.G Federation (2012)

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ORIGINATING SUMMONS CANNOT BE USED WHERE FACTS ARE CONTENTIOUS

OBASANYA v. BABAFEMI (2000) 23 WRN (Pt.689) 1 at 17 stated again as follows: “Where the facts are controversial or contentious and cannot be ascertained without evidence being adduced, originating summons should not be appropriately used; and if used it should be discountenanced. See N. B. N. & ANOR VS. ALAKIJA (1978) 2 LRN 78 see also DOHERTY VS. DOHERTY (1964) N.M.L.R. 144, UNILAG VS. AIGORO (1991) 3 NWLR (Pt.179) 367; ANATOGU Vs. ANATOGU (1997) 9. The provision of Order 3 Rule 2 of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules 1994 (supra) quite clearly provides that the originating summons procedure is only suitable for cases where the sole or principle question is one of construction of document. In the construction of such documents, law or instruments no evidence is required or adduced. Facts constituting an allegation of fraud by their very nature are controversial.”

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