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PURPOSE OF FILING A REPLY BRIEF IS TO RESPOND TO NEW POINTS RAISED BY RESPONDENTS BRIEF

Dictum

At the hearing of this appeal on 19 October 2015, the learned senior counsel to the 1st and 2nd respondents urged us to discountenance it as it was in contrast with what a reply brief is supposed to contain and he therefore A urged us to discountenance it. In his response, the learned senior counsel for the appellant felt otherwise and had explained that his reply brief is competent and should not be discountenanced. I have closely studied the appellant’s reply brief. I share the view of the learned silk for the 1st and 2nd respondents that large portion of the appellant’s reply brief contains repetition of submissions and arguments earlier advanced by the appellant in his main brief. The learned silk for the appellant merely succeeded in amplifying or fine-tuning them. It therefore does not qualify as what a reply brief should contain. It is trite law that the purpose of filing a reply brief to a respondent’s brief by an appellant is simply to reply to new points which were raised or canvassed in the respondent’s brief of argument. It is therefore not meant to be used to put right or fill any lacunae or error in the appellant’s brief or to fine-tune, repeat or amplify arguments proffered by the respondent in the respondent’s brief of argument. The instant appellant’s reply brief is therefore unnecessary, since it is largely a repetition of the arguments or submissions earlier made or provided in the appellant’s main brief of argument. I therefore for that reason, hereby discountenance the repetitive portions of the appellant’s reply brief and shall refuse to consider them. See Popoola v. Adeyemo (1992) 8 NWLR (Pt. 257) 1; Shuaibu v. Maihodu (1993) 3 NWLR (Pt. 284) 784; Chukwuogor v. Attorney-General of Cross Rivers State (1998) 1 NWLR (Pt. 534) 375; Ojiogu v. Ojiogu and Anor. (2010) All FWLR (Pt. 538) 840, (2010) 1 SC 13.

— Sanusi, JSC. Wike Nyesom v. Peterside, APC, INEC, PDP (SC. 718/2015, 27 Oct 2015)

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PURPOSE OF A REPLY BRIEF

A Reply Brief is meant to explain or contest fresh issue of law raised in the Respondents brief, which was not canvassed in/by the Appellants Brief. – Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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REPLY BRIEF IS FOR ADDRESSING NEW ISSUES RAISED

A reply brief is filed when an issue of law or argument raised in the respondent’s brief usually by way of a preliminary objection calls for a reply. Where a reply brief is necessary, it should be limited to answering any new points arising from the respondent’s brief. Although the filing of a reply brief by an appellant is not mandatory, where a respondent’s brief raises issues or points of law not covered in the appellant’s brief, an appellant ought to file a reply as failure to file one without an oral reply to the points raised in the respondent’s brief may amount to a concession of the points of law or issues raised in the respondent’s brief. It is not proper to use a reply brief to extend the scope of the appellant’s brief or raise issues not dealt with in the respondent’s brief. A reply brief is not meant to have a second bite of the cherry, which is exactly the purpose of the appellant’s reply brief in this appeal. Since the appellant used the reply brief to extend the scope of his argument and submission in the two issues raised for determination, it is utterly irrelevant to this appeal.

– Adekeye JSC. Harka v. Keazor (2011) – SC.262/2005

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REPLY BRIEF IS FOR ANSWERING NEW POINTS RAISED

In Longe v. First Bank of Nig. PLC. 2010 2-3 SC p.61, It was held inter alia that: “… A Reply Brief is necessary and usually filed when an issue of Law or argument raised in the Respondents Brief calls for a Reply. Where a Reply Brief is necessary, it should be limited to answering new points arising from the Respondent’s Brief. Although, an Appellant’s Reply Brief is not mandatory, where a Respondent’s Brief raises issues or points of law not covered in the Appellant’s Brief, an Appellant ought to file a Reply Brief. It is not proper to use a Reply Brief to extend the scope of the Appellant’s Brief or raise issues not dealt with in the Respondent’s Brief.”

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NO NEED FOR REPLY BRIEF WHERE NO NEW ISSUE IS RAISED

The respondent did not raise any new issue for appellant to file a reply brief. The reply brief is discountenanced for being repetitive of what has been canvassed in the main brief. — T.Y. Hassan, JCA. EMTS Ltd. (Etisalat) v. Godfrey Nya Eneye (2018) – CA/A/724/2014

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FUNCTION OF A REPLY BRIEF

The function of a reply brief is to refute the new arguments in the respondents brief. A reply brief is necessary when an issue of law or argument is raised in the Respondents brief which requires a reply by the appellant. Failure to file a Reply brief can adversely affect the case of the appellant if the issues raised in the respondent’s brief are weighty, substantial and relevant in law. A reply brief is not meant to re-argue or fine tune an appellant’s case. A reply brief has no connection or affiliation with the Cross-Respondents brief and can only be filed by an appellant in the main appeal or cross-appeal.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Mini Lodge v. Ngei (2009) – SC.231/2006

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INCOMPETENT REPLY ON POINTS OF LAW

Now, the law is that a reply on points of law is meant to be just what it is, a reply on points of law. It should be limited to answering only new points arising from the opposing brief. It is not meant for the party replying on points of law to reargue its case or bring in points it forgot to advance when it filed its final written address. It is not a form to engage in arguments at large. Alternatively put, a reply on points of law is not meant to improve on the quality of a written address; a reply brief is not a repair kit to correct or put right an error or lacuna in the initial brief of argument. See Dr Augustine N. Mozie & ors v. Chike Mbamalu [2006] 12 SCM (Pt. I) 306. The effect of non compliance is that the Court will discountenance such a reply brief. See Onuaguluchi v. Ndu [2000] 11 NWLR (Pt. 590) 204.

— B.B. Kanyip, J. Olatunji v UBER (2018) – NICN/LA/546/2017

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