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PARTY CANNOT BE GRANTED WHAT HE DID NOT CLAIM

Dictum

In this regard, the law is long and well settled that where a plaintiff claims, say, a declaration of title to land or whatever, and his claim is dismissed, it will be wrong to grant the declaration to the defendant if he did not ask for it by way of counter-claim. See: Ntiaro v. Akpam 3 N.L.R. 10; Abisi v. Ekwealor (1993) 6 NWLR (Pt. 302) 643 etc. As has been pointed out repeatedly by this and other courts, courts of law are no father Christmas and they must not grant to a party a relief which he has not sought or claimed or which is more than he has claimed. see: Ekpenyong v. Nyong (1975) 2 S.C. 71 at 81-82.

– Iguh JSC. Awoniyi v. AMORC (2000)

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WHEN PARTIES ARE NOT IN AGREEMENT, ISSUE IS JOINED

From the above it is clear that the parties are not agreed on what happened in ward 9, Sabagreia. They have therefore, joined issues on their pleadings. So, what is the legal evidence adduced on both sides in proof of the facts as each party asserted them?

— Nsofor, JCA. Ugo v Indiamaowei (1999) – CA/PH/EP/97/99

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PARTY NOT PUNISHED FOR COUNSEL MISTAKE

It is a very well established principle that the object of courts is to decide the rights of parties and not to punish them for the mistake they or their counsel may make in the conduct of their cases or appeals by deciding otherwise than in accordance with their rights.

– Oputa JSC. Obiora v. Osele (1989) – SC.70/1987

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WHEN MAIN CLAIM IS GRANTED, ALTERNATIVE CLAIM CANNOT BE GRANTED

When a party as in this case, the Plaintiff/1st Respondent made claims the in alternative, she is saying that she wants either of her reliefs. So any of the claims granted suffices for the purpose of satisfying her claim. When a Court grants the main claim, the alternative claim would no longer be considered. When the main claim fails, the alternative claim must be considered, and if found proved the Court should grant it as the Court of Appeal did in this Appeal.

— O. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Bakari v. Ogundipe (2020) – SC.514/2015

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COURT WILL NOT REWRITE LEASE AGREEMENT FOR PARTIES

In doing so, the court should bear in mind that it has a responsibility not to re-write the Lease Agreement for the parties but simply to give effect to their intention as may be deduced from the language employed by them.

— Achike, JSC. Unilife v. Adeshigbin (2001) 4 NWLR (Pt.704) 609

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IT IS FROM THE WRIT AND STATEMENT OF CLAIM THAT THE CLAIMANT’S CASE IS KNOWN

The cause of action is donated by the writ of summons and statement of claim and it is in those originating processes and any such similar process that a court of law will decipher what the complaint of a litigant before it is. See the decision of this court in Nduka v. Ogbonna (2011) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1227) 153 at 175, paragraphs B – C, Ariwoola JCA succinctly stated the position thus: “In the instant case, the cause of action as clearly shown on the statement of claim is for special and general damages for defamation and malicious prosecution.” The apex court has also reaffirmed this position of the law which has become trite: Hassan v. Aliyu (2010) All FWLR (Pt. 539) 1007, (2010) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1223) 547, wherein Adekeye JSC had this to say at 619, paragraphs G – 4 of the report: “… It is sufficient if prima facie the date of taking the cause of action is disclosed in the writ of summons and statement of claim … The trial court has a duty to confine itself to the pleadings filed by the parties.”

— Danjuma, JCA. Tony Anthony Nig. Ltd & Ors. v. NDIC (CA/L/630/2009 • 25 January 2011)

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DISTINCTION PROPER, DESIRABLE, NECESSARY PARTIES

The locus classicus on the often vexed issue of distinction between ‘proper parties’ ‘desirable parties’ and ‘necessary parties’ is the evergreen case of Green v. Green (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt. 61) 480 at 493 or (1987) 18 NSCC (Pt. 2) 1115. Wherein the supreme court per Oputa JSC (now of blessed memory) held that:- “This now leads one to the consideration of the difference between ‘proper parties’, ‘desirable parties’ and ‘necessary parties.’ Proper parties are those who ought not interested in the plaintiff claim, are made parties for some good reasons e.g where an action is brought to rescind a contract, any person is a proper party to it who was active or concurring in the matters which gave the plaintiff the right to rescind. Desirable parties are those who have an interest or who may be affected by the result. Necessary parties are those who are not only interested in the subject matter of the proceedings but also who in their absence, the proceedings could not be fairly dealt with. In other words, the question to be settled in the action between the existing parties settled unless they are parties to the action instituted by the plaintiff.”

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