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LEGAL PRACTITIONERS ARE TO KEEP ABREAST WITH THE PRONOUNCEMENTS OF THE SUPREME COURT

Dictum

The Supreme Court had re-emphasized the binding effect of its judgments on the lower courts in the case of ODEDO v PDP & ORS (2015) LPELR-24738(SC), where Kekere-Ekun, JSC stated at page 65, paras. B – E, as follows: “The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. By virtue of Section 235 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 its decisions are final. In other words, a decision of the Apex Court settles the position of the law in respect of a particular issue and becomes a binding precedent for all other courts of record in Nigeria. Legal practitioners have a responsibility to keep abreast of the pronouncements of the Court and advise their clients accordingly. It is wrong to ignore decisions of this Court and seek to perpetuate a position that has already been pronounced upon. This is one of the causes of congestion in our courts and must be discouraged.”

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WHO IS A LEGAL PRACTITIONER

However, a legal practitioner is a person entitled according to the provision of section 24 of Legal Practitioners Act, 1990 to practice as a barrister or as barrister and solicitor either generally or for the purpose of any particular office or proceedings.

– C. M. Chukwuma-eneh, J.S.C. Okafor v. Nweke (2007) – SC.27/2002

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PROCESS SIGNED BY A FIRM OF LEGAL PRACTITIONERS IS NOT VALID IN LAW

The said section 573(1) of Companies and Allied Matters Act Provides as follows:- ‘Every individual firm or corporation having a place of business in Nigeria and carrying on business under a business name shall be registered in the manner provided in this part of this Act The above is not an authority that can be relied upon to uphold the view that a process signed and filed by a firm of legal practitioners which has no live is valid in law. The general provision of the law as in section 573(1) of Companies and Allied Matters Act is subject to the specific provisions of section 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act. See: FMBN v. Olloh (2002) 4 SC (Pt. 11) 177 at 122-123; Kraps Thompson Org.v. NIPSS (2004) 5 SC (Pt.1) 16 at 20-21.

— J.A. Fabiyi, JSC. FBN v. Maiwada (2012) – SC.269/2005

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COUNSEL SHOULD NOT MISQUOTE JUDGE

I will pause here to advise that learned counsel when referring to statements made by trial Judges should not impute words not said by them, or misquote their statements and present statements which were not actually uttered or remarked by them (the Judges). A close look at the passage quoted above leaves one in no doubt that the Judge did not say that the depositions were of no assistance to him . Rather, what he said was that they were of little assistance to him . He is therefore misunderstood or quoted out of context.

– Sanusi JCA. Enejo v. Nasir (2006)

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DUTY THE ADVOCATE OWES THE COURT IS SUPERIOR

While the point is conceded that an advocate should be sensitive and loyal to his client’s case, such sensitivity and loyalty should not exceed required boundaries, particularly the duty the advocate owes the court to present the law correctly, even if it is against his client. – Niki Tobi JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

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COUNSEL SHOULD NOT MANUFACTURE FACTS IN COURT

Learned counsel should refrain from manufacturing facts to suit the interest of his client. As a minister in the Temple of Justice, counsel should always be guided by raw facts as disclosed by the evidence before the Court. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, learned counsel should heed to this advice against the future.

– Adamu Jauro, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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DRAWING UNINTENDED CONCLUSIONS FROM JUDGES STATEMENTS

Sir James Bacon, V.C., said in Green’s Case (1874) L.R. 18 Eq C.A. 428:- “In the judgments which Judges pronounce, this is inevitable, that having their minds full, not only of the cases before them, but of all the principles involved in the cases which have been referred to, it very often happens that a Judge, in stating as much as is necessary to decide the case before him, does not express all that may be said upon the subject. That leaves the judgment open sometimes to misconstruction, and enables ingenious advocates by taking out certain passages, to draw conclusions which the Judge never meant to be drawn from the words he used.”

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