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JUDGEMENT MUST BE CONFINED TO PARTIES ISSUES

Dictum

This is because it is a fundamental principle of the determination of disputes between parties that judgment must be confined to the issues raised by the parties and it is not competent for the court to make a case for either or both of the parties and then proceed to give judgment on the case so formulated contrary to the case of the parties.

– Iguh, JSC. Oshatoba v. Olujitan (2000)

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EXECUTORY JUDGEMENT VS DECLARATORY JUDGEMENT

Executory judgment declares the respective rights of the parties and then proceeds to order the defendant to act in a particular way. e.g. to pay damages or refrain from interfering with the plaintiffs’ rights, such order being enforceable by execution if disobeyed. Declaratory judgments, on the other hand, merely proclaim the existence of a legal relationship and do not contain any order which may be enforced against the defendant. Second: A declaratory judgment may be the ground of subsequent proceedings in which the right, having been violated, receives enforcement but in the meantime there is no enforcement or any claim to it … A declaratory judgment is complete in itself since the relief is the declaration. See Vol. 1 Halbury Laws, 4th Ed., para. 185 187; Akunnia v. Attorney General of Anambra State (1977) 5 S.C. (161 at 177).

— Agbaje JSC. Okoya & Ors. V. S. Santilli & Ors. ( SC.206/1989, 23 MAR 1990)

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WHAT IS A FINAL JUDGEMENT?

In Obasi Brothers Merchant Co. Ltd. vs. Merchant Bank of Africa Securities Ltd. (2005) 2 SCNJ 272, Pat-Acholonu, JSC held at page 278 that: “A final judgment is one which decides the rights of parties. In other words it is a decision on the merits of the case where the matter is assiduously canvassed and the rendition of a judgment is based on what is canvassed and agitated before the Courts by the legal combatants.”

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GROUND OF APPEAL MUST RELATE TO THE JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT

It is long settled that a ground of appeal must arise or relate to the judgment against which the appeal is filed. That is to say the ground of appeal should be a direct challenge to the decision of the lower court. Where this is not the case, the ground of appeal should be struck out. See Kolawole v. Alberto (1989) 1 NWLR Pt.98 p.382 Alubankudi v. A.G. Federation (2002) 17 NWLR pt.796 p.360.

— O. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Wassah & Ors. v. Kara & Ors. (2014) – SC.309/2001

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COURT DOES NOT DETERMINE ISSUES THAT ARE INCOMPETENT

The law is that once a preliminary objection succeeds in respect of some issues for determination in an appeal, there will be no need to go further to consider the arguments proffered on those issues formulated for determination which have been found to be infirmed and incompetent. See: Mosoba v. Abubakar (2005) 6 NWLR (Pt. 922) 460; NEPA v. Ango (2001) 15 NWLR (pt. 737) 627 at 645-6 46; Ralph Uwazurike and Ors v. Attorney General of the Federation (2007) 2 SCNJ 369 at p.380; B.A.S.F. Nig. Ltd v. Faith Enterprises Ltd (2010) 1 SCNJ 223 at P.249.

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

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COURT OF APPEAL SHOULD CONSIDER ALL ISSUES

It is trite law that an appeal court must consider all issues for determination raised before it except where it is of the view that a consideration of one or more issues is enough to dispose of the appeal. In such a situation, the court may adopt such issues as may dispose of the appeal and may not be bound to consider all the other Issues he considers irrelevant and unnecessary.

— M.A. Danjuma JCA. Folorunsho Ogboja v. Access Bank Plc (CA/AK/38/2013, 18 MAY 2015)

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FAILURE TO APPEAL FOR ISSUES NOT HEARD BY THE LOWER COURT

It is obvious that the respondent has not appealed against the failure of the court below to consider other issues raised before it. The inference that can rightly be made from that position is that they took a chance that the judgment of the court below would be affirmed by this court. Having regard to what I have said above on the only issue considered by the court below, it is manifest that the risk taken by the respondent has not enured in its favour. On the other hand, as already observed, the trial court had found for the plaintiff/appellant in respect of all his claims against the respondent. As those findings remained undisturbed, it would not in my humble view, be right in the circumstances to now deny the appellant of the fruits of his success by remitting the case to the court below for the consideration of the issues that the court deliberately left unconsidered in its judgment. The justice of the case demands that the appellant should be granted all his claims as found by the trial court. And it is hereby granted accordingly.

— Ejiwunmi JSC. Melwani V. Five Star Industries Limited (SC.15/1994, 25 January 2002)

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