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JUDGEMENT IN REM

Dictum

In Oni & Anor V Oyebanji & Ors( SC/CV/398/2023 on 6-4-2023) this court Per Agim JSC restated the law on this concept thusly “As this Court held in Ogboru & Anor v. Uduaghan & Ors (2011) LPELR-8236 (SC) “A judgement in rem may be defined as the judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction determining the status of a person or thing as distinct from the particular interest of a party to the litigation. Apart from the application of the term to persons, it must affect the “res” in the way of condemnation, forfeiture, declaration, status or title. (a) Examples are judgment of a Court over a will creating the status of administration. (b) Judgment in a divorce by a Court of competent jurisdiction dissolving a marriage declaring the nullity or affirming its existence. (c) Judgment in an election petition. The feature of a judgment in rem is that it binds all persons – 36 whether a party to the proceedings or not. It stops anyone from raising the issue of the status of persons or persons or things, or the rights or title to properly litigated before a competent Court. It is indeed conclusive against the entire world in whatever it settles as to status of the person or property. All persons whether party to the proceedings or not are stopped from averring that the status of persons is other than the Court has by such judgement declared or made it to be.” Okpalugo vs. Adeshoye (t996) 10 NELR pt. 476, pg. 77, Fan trades Ltd. vs Uni Association Co. Ltd. (2002) 8 NWLR Pt. 770, pg. 699., Ogbahon vs. Reg. Trustees CCCG (2002) 1 NWLR Pt. 749, pg. 675, Olaniyan vs Fatoki (2003) 13 NWLR pt. 837, Pg. 273.

— E.A. Agim, JSC. Oyetola v INEC & Ors. (2022) – SC/CV/508/2023

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A SEPARATE PANEL CANNOT TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE OF NULLIFIED JUDGEMENT OF ANOTHER EARLIER PANEL

In argument, we were not referred to any decided case that appeared to have answered the basic problem in the above questions. I shall therefore attempt to answer them inferentially from some decided cases and from general principles. In the case of Craven V. Smith (1869) L.R. 4 Exch. 146 which was referred to in argument, it is clear from a careful reading of the report that what the court was held to be entitled to look at was the lawful record of the same panel of the court in the same case. It cannot, therefore, be regarded as supporting a case like this in which the question is whether a separate panel can take notice of the nullified judgment of an earlier panel. Even though the courts in England took judicial notice of the law of England as administered in the Court of Chancery (for which see e.g. Sims v. Marryatt 17 Q.B. 281), yet the practice of that court was earlier proved by oral evidence before it would be noticed. Hence in Dicas v. Brougham Ltd M. & Rob, 309, Lord Eldon had to be called as a witness to prove that practice. In Tucker V. Inman 4 M & Gr 1049 an equity counsel was called for the same purpose. In Place V. Potts 8 Exch. 705 at the invitation of counsel, the court made its own inquiry and informed itself as to the jurisdiction of the Court of Admiralty. See also Williams V. Lloyd 1 M & Gr. 671.

— P. Nnaemeka-Agu JSC. Gbaniyi Osafile v. Paul Odi (SC 149/1987, 4th day of May 1990)

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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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PAYMENT OF JUDGEMENT ENTERED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY

The present practice is that where an award is made in foreign currency, the judgment will be for the payment of the amount in foreign currency or its naira equivalent converted for the purposes of the enforcement of the judgment at the time of the payment.

— Ayoola, JSC. Saeby v. Olaogun (1999) – SC.261/1993

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A JUDGEMENT IN A CIVIL CASE IS MADE UP OF FIVE DISTINCT PARTS

I belief it is useful to begin my consideration of the main issue for determination in this appeal by advising myself that a judgment in a civil case is made up more or less of five distinct parts. These are the introduction of the issue in controversy between the parties, the cases of either side to the litigation as revealed on the pleadings, the evidence called by either side in support of its case, the resolution of the issues of fact and of law put forward by each party, and the court’s conclusions based on the resolution of the issues and the claims before the Court.

— P. Nnaemeka-Agu JSC. Gbaniyi Osafile v. Paul Odi (SC 149/1987, 4th day of May 1990)

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NIGERIAN JUDGEMENTS CAN BE ENTERED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY

If there was any doubt that judgment can now be entered in foreign currency as the Court of Appeal had done, the opinion of Ogundare, JSC in Koya v. United Bank for Africa Ltd. (1997) 1 NWLR (Pt. 481) 251, 269 – 289 should, in my opinion, lay such doubt to rest. After a review of several local and English authorities he said at p. 289: “It is my respectful view that courts in this country can claim jurisdiction to entertain and determine cases where sums in foreign currencies are claimed. The old rule in England, as well as in Nigeria, is judge-made and in the light of present day circumstances of extensive international commercial relationships, that rule should give way to a new rule as now in England more so that the difficulties hitherto experienced in enforcing such judgments no longer apply.”

— Ayoola, JSC. Saeby v. Olaogun (1999) – SC.261/1993

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SOME PRINCIPLES ON THE NATURE OF A COURT’S JUDGMENT

1. A judgment or ruling of a competent court ought not to be illusory, but ought to have its consequences. One consequence of the Order of the Court of Appeal dated 13/11/85 is the restoration of Chief Ojukwu to his residence at No. 29 Queen’s Drive. The applicants by their delaying tactics have so far made that order illusory.

2. A judgment once given should be accepted as correct until the contrary is proved. This can only be done by and in an appropriate higher Court of Appeal – in this case the Supreme Court. This Court has not yet over-ruled or set aside the Order of the Court of Appeal of 13/11/85.

3. He who is in defiant disobedience of the law – here an Order of court – cannot appeal to the same law to help him continue in his disobedience.

4. The Applicants in this Motion are asking the court to exercise its discretion in their favour. The exercise of discretion is equitable and the function of equity is to supplement the law never to counteract or contradict the law.

– Oputa, JSC. Military Governor v. Ojukwu (1986) – SC.241/1985

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