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NO COST WHERE BOTH PARTIES SUCCEED IN PART

Dictum

Both sides have failed or succeeded in parts on this appeal and it is fair to desist from making any order as to costs.

— Coker JSC. Shell Bp Petroleum Dev. Co. v. Jammal Engineering (Nigeria) Limited (1974)

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FACTORS CONSIDERED IN AWARDING COST – LITIGATION

Speaking generally, costs as between party and party are given or awarded as an indemnity to the person entitled to them, usually a successful party at the conclusion of proceedings in a case, not as a bonus to him or imposed as a punishment to the losing party. REWANE v OKOTIE-EBOH (1960) SCNLR 461; UBN v SCPOK (NIG) LTD (1998) 12 NWLR 578; OGUNMOKUN v MILAD, OSUN STATE (1999) 3 NWLR (594) 261 at 287. In addition, in awarding costs, a Court is entitled to consider among other factors, the following: a) the summons fee b) duration of the case c) legal representation d) expenses incurred by the successful party in the ordinary course of prosecuting the case. e) The value or purchasing power of the Naira at the time of the award. See ONABANJO V EWETUGA (1993) 4 NWLR ( 2 8 8 ) 4 4 3 a t 4 6 0 ; DELTA STEEL CO. LTD v AMERICAN COMP. TECH. LTD (1999) 4 NWLR (597) 53 at 68.

— H.M. Ogunwumiju, JCA. First Bank v Oronsaye (2019) – CA/B/335/13

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AWARD OF COST SHOULD NOT BE ON SENTIMENT – MUST BE JUDICIAL AND JUDICIOUS

The award of costs involves a judicial discretion which must be exercised judicially and judiciously on fixed principles that is according to rules of reason and justice not according to private opinion. See Wurno v. VAC Ltd. (1956) I FSC 33 at 34. The exercise of such discretion must similarly not be affected by question of benevolence or sympathy. The award of costs is not meant to be a bonus to the successful party and should not be awarded on sentiment. See Universal Bank of Nigeria Ltd. v. Nwaokolo (1995) 11 Kings Law report (KLR) 919. Rewani v. Festus Okotie-Eboh (1960) 5 FSC 200 at 207. It follows therefore that the discretion of the court in awarding costs must be judicially and judiciously. It is an acceptable practice in law for appellate court not to interfere with the exercise of discretion by lower courts. In this regard appellate courts seldom interfere with the exercise of discretion in awards of costs except where such discretion is not exercised judicially and judiciously. See Nwaubani v. Golden Guinea Breweries Plc. (1995) 6 NWLR (Pt 400) page 191. A trial judge has discretion whether to award costs or not and also as regards the person by whom the costs are to be paid.

— Abdu Aboki JCA. ACB v Ajugwo (2011) – CA/E/66/2006

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INSTANCES WHERE COSTS AWARDED WERE REVERSED ON APPEAL

✓ Olasope v. National bank of Nigeria Ltd. & Anor (1985) 3 NWLR (pt 11) page 147 of 152. This court reduced the N200 costs awarded to the 1st Respondent to N100. Kutigi JCA (as he then was) said:- ‘I see no basis for awarding N200 costs to the 2nd Respondent who to all intent and purposes appears to be a busy-body as far as this suit is concerned. He voluntarily joined himself and had nothing to ask the Appellant even after testifying in court. And coupled with what his own counsel said in court below that his appearance should be discontinued. He is in my view entitled to no costs and I award none to him.’
✓ In Umarco Nigeria Ltd. v. Panelpina World transport Ltd. (1986) 1 CA (pt 2) page 324, this court set aside the N1,000 cost awarded in favour of the Respondent on the ground that this amount was not only excessive but also unreasonable having regard to the out-of-pocket expenses, the length of hearing and other relevant circumstances. See Oforn & Ors v. Odunsi (1960) NMLR 12. But in Daily Times Nigeria Ltd. v. Chief William (1986) NWLR Pt 36 page 526. The judge awarded the Respondent N1,000.00 exemplary damages and N1,000 costs. The Appellant appealed both on the exemplary damages and on the cost. On the issue of costs, it was contended that as the Respondent conducted the case himself and spent only N101.17k out-of-pocket expenses, N1,000 costs was excessive. The court held that award of N1,000 was not excessive even though the respondent out-of-pocket expenses are N101.17k . Ademola JCA (as he then was) said:- ‘On the issue of costs awarded I do not regard it as excessive because all factors must have been taken into consideration and the fact that the Respondent conducted the case himself should not necessarily be against him but could also be in favour of the Appellant in that if a counsel had been employed by the Respondent, the cost awarded could have reflected counsel cost in favour of the Respondent.’

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COSTS FOLLOW EVENTS

Even though costs follow events,there shall be no order on costs.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. African Intl. Bank Ltd. v Integrated Dimensional System (2012) – SC.278/2002

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SUCCESSFUL PARTY IS ENTITLED TO COST EXCEPT WHERE SPECIAL REASON IS SHOWN

A successful party is entitled to costs unless there are special reasons why he should be deprived of his entitlement. In making an award of costs, the Court must act judiciously and judicially. That is to say with correct and convincing reasons. See Per RHODES-VIVOUR, JSC in NNPC V. CLIFCO NIG. LTD (2011) LPELR-2022(SC) (P. 23, PARAS. D-A).

— U.M. Abba Aji, JSC. Cappa v NDIC (2021) – SC.147/2006

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