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MEANING OF JUST AND FAIR

Dictum

In the latter regard I refer to Halsbury’s Law of England, Vol. 21, page 348 para. “370.Meaning of just or convenient. The words just or convenient in the statutory provision (k) must be read just, as well as convenient (l). They do not mean that the court can grant an injunction simply because the court thinks it convenient, but mean that the court should grant an injunction for protection of rights or the prevention of injury according to legal principles (m). They confer no arbitrary nor unregulated discretion on the court, and do not authorise it to invent new modes of enforcing judgment in substitution for the ordinary modes (o).”

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

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JUSTICE OF THE CASE IS DETERMINED BY THE FACTS OF THE CASE

Justice of a case cannot be determined in vacuo but in relation to the facts of the case. Justice so to say, which is not done within the facts of a case is not justifice properly so called but justice in inverted commas and therefore injustice.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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THE LAW IS ON THE SUCCESSFUL PARTY’S SIDE

Generally, the law is on the side of the successful party, to assist him to reap the benefit(s) of the judgment. See NZERIBE V. DAVE ENGINEERING CO. LTD. (1994) 9 SCNJ 161.

— I.G. Mbaba, JCA. Ogunleye v. Aina (2012) – CA/IL/22/2011

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MISTAKE TO CAUSE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE

It is now settled law, that it is not every mistake in a judgment or decision that can warrant the reversal of a decision. To justify a reversal of a decision, the error complained of must be of such a nature to cause real miscarriage of justice. In the instant case, the fact that a breach was considered, even if erroneously, in appeal which does not concern the appellant, cannot be a basis for the appellant to complain.

– Musdapher JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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TECHNICAL VS SUBSTANTIVE JUSTICE

There is also the view of some counsel that the decision in Okafor v. Nweke had to do with technical justice. I agree that the age of technical justice is gone. The current vogue is substantial justice. See: Dada v. Dosumu (2006) 12 PNJSC 115. But substantial justice can only be attained not by bending the law but by applying it as it is; not as it ought to be. There is nothing technical in applying the provisions of sections 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act as it is drafted by the Legislature. The law should not be bent to suit the whims and caprices of the parties/counsel. One should not talk of technicality when a substantive provision of the law is rightly invoked.

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

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THE AIM OF JUSTICE IS TO DO SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE BETWEEN THE PARTIES

Law is blind. It has no eyes. It cannot see. That explains why a statue of a woman with her eyes covered can be found in front of some High Courts. On the contrary justice is not blind. It has many eyes, it sees, and sees very well. The aim of courts is to do substantial justice between the parties and any technicality that rears its ugly head to defeat the cause of justice will be rebuffed by the court. See Bello v. A.G, Oyo State (1986) 12 SC P.1 Bello v. Ringim (1991) 7 NWLR Pt.206 P.675 When justice is done it brings joy to the Righteous. See Proverbs 21:15.

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

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