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PROCEDURAL WAIVER

Dictum

The law is very well settled that counsel may waive a defect in procedure which is procedural law. What is waiver and what are the consequences when counsel waives his right? Waiver is the intentional and voluntary abandonment of a right. It is either express or implied from conduct. Where a party has waived his right to insist that the correct procedure must be followed, he cannot later on appeal, resile and complain of what he has waived. Put in another way, a right that has been waived is lost. The reasoning being that once the other party acts upon the waiver, the party waiving the right can no longer go back on the waiver and act as if it was never waived. See Ariori & Ors v Elemo & Ors (1983) 14 NSCC P.1; Chief John Eze v Dr. C.I. Okechukwu & 7 Ors (2002) 14 SCM p.105.

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

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WHAT IS WAIVER?

Waiver is an abandonment of a right and showing by words or conduct not to insist on the right: see on this Vol. 37 Halsbury Laws of England (3rd Edn.) p. 152.

– Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Petroleum v. Owodunni (1991)

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ACQUIESCENCE VS WAIVER, DISTINCTION

Acquiescence imports tacit consent. It is the giving of an implied consent to a transaction, to the accrual of a right, or to any act, by one’s mere silence or without express assent or acknowledgment. Waiver, on the other hand, is the intentional or voluntary relinquishment of a known right, or such conduct as warrants an inference of the relinquishment of such right or when one dispenses with the performance of something one is entitled to exact or when one in possession of any right, whether conferred by law or by contract, with full knowledge of the material facts does or forebears to do something, the doing of which or the failure or forbearance to do which is in consistent with the right or his intention to rely upon it. The party against whom the doctrine of waiver is raised must: (a) be aware of the act or omission; and (b) do some equivocal act adopting or recognising the act or omission.
In this case, the trial court was right in holding that the mere refusal or failure of the appellant to protest the alteration in the rate of interest when he received his statement of account could not amount to a waiver of his right to challenge same by action. [Ariori v. Elemo (1983) 1 SCNI,It 1 at 27; Adio v. A. G, 0yo State (1990) 7 NWLR (Pt. 163) 448; Odu’a Investment Co. Ltd v. Talabi (1991) 1 NWLR (Pt. 170) 761]

– L.A. Ayanlere v. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nig. Ltd. (1998) – CA/K/186/96

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PARTY TO AN ACTION IS BOUND – STANDBY & WATCH PARTY IS BOUND

Under our laws one reason which makes it necessary to make a person a party to an action is so that he should be bound by the result of the action. See Amon v. Raphael Tuck ’26 Sons Ltd. (1969) 1 Q.B.D. 357 at p. 380 per Devlin, J. Under our law also a person whose interest is involved, or is in issue in an action and who knowingly chose to stand by and let others fight his battle for him is equally bound by the result in the same way as if he were a party: see In re Lart (1986) 2 Ch. D. 788; Leeds v, Amherst 16 L.J. Ch. 5; Esiaka v. Obiasogwu 14 W.A.C.A. 178; Abuakwa v. Adanse (1957) 3 All E.R. 559.

– Oputa, JSC. Green v. Green (1987)

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WAIVER IN EQUITY

Equity will not allow the respondents to hold the appellant to ransom. Waiver, a very loud principle of equity will certainly come to the rescue of the appellant. – Tobi JSC. Odedo v. INEC (2008)

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DEFINITION OF WAIVER – Halsbury’s Laws

Halsbury’s Laws of England 4th Edition, Vol. 16 stated in its way thus: – “The primary meaning of waiver has been said to be the abandonment by way of confession and avoidance if the right is thereafter asserted, and is either express or implied from conduct, it may arise by virtue of a party making an election, for example whether or not to exercise a contractual right”.

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A PERSON HAS FULL COMPETENCE TO WAIVE HIS RIGHTS

ARIORI v. ELEMO (1983) 14 N.S.0 8, particularly the opinion of Eso, JSC at page 37 thereof: “The next enquiry is to what extent to which a person could waive rights conferred on him by law? When a right is conferred solely for the benefit of an individual there should be no problem as to the extent to which he could waive such right. The right is for his benefit. He is sui juris. He is under no longer disability. He should be able to forego the right; in otherwords waive it either completely or partially, depending on his choice. The extent to which he has foregone his right would be a matter of fact and each case will depend on its peculiar facts. A beneficiary under statute should have full competence to waive those right once the rights are solely for his benefit. The only exception I can think of is where the statute itself forbids waiver of its statutory provisions”.

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