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SIX YEARS FOR REGISTRATION OF JUDGEMENT CAN ONLY APPLY WHERE MINISTER HAS EXERCISED HIS POWER

Dictum

In 1961, the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcements) Act (Cap. 152) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria was enacted. Under section 4(1), the period within which a foreign judgment may be registered in Nigeria was extended to six years from the date of such judgment. But section 3(1) of the Act makes the applicability of the six years’ period subject to an order by the Minister of Justice directing that Part I of the Act [which includes section 4(1)] shall extend to a relevant foreign country … Section 9 of the Act preserves the effect of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance until an order envisaged under section 3(1) is made by the Minister. This relates to all foreign judgments including those given in the United Kingdom which should be registered within 12 months or such longer period the court may allow them.

— S.O. Uwaifo, JSC. Macaulay v RZB (2003) – SC.109/2002

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JUDGEMENT NOT ENFORCEABLE IN ORIGINAL COURT WILL NOT BE ENFORCEABLE IN REGISTERING COURT

The reasoning behind the conditions laid down for refusal is very obvious. In other words where a judgment has been satisfied, the interest of the judgment creditor had been served and therefore any further registration of same would serve no beneficial purpose but a mere waste of time. There would be nothing more to pursue. Further more and on the second reason warranting refusal, it is a matter of common knowledge that any judgment which by its nature cannot be enforced by exemption in the country of the original court would certainly and invariably encourter the same situational characteristics wheresoever else. Basically the general fundamentals relating to the purpose, determination application and effectual reasonings of any legal system are principally based on the same pedestal connotation. Any judgment which could not be executed is as good as none at all.

— C.B. Ogunbiyi, JCA. Teleglobe v 21st Century Tech. (2008) – CA/L/694/2006

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COURT MAY EXAMINE DECISIONS OF SIMILAR JURISDICTION

Where there is no established precedent in this jurisdiction, the Court may examine the decisions of Courts in other similar jurisdictions for guidance. It is conceded that they are of persuasive authority only. In the Indian and English authorities cited by learned counsel for the applicants, I am persuaded that having regard to the fact that the decision of the lower Court affects the pecuniary interest of the applicants in the estate of the deceased and they are not seeking to pursue the appeal against the conviction and sentence of the deceased, the justice of the case requires that they be permitted to challenge the decision on Ground 9 only.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun JSC. Abdullahi v. Nigerian Army (SC.433/2010(R), 25 MAY 2018)

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PREREQUISITES TO SET ASIDE FOREIGN JUDGEMENT WILL BE CONSIDERED WHEN FOREIGN JUDGEMENT IS TO BE REGISTERED

The purpose from the subtitle is for cases in which registered Judgments must or may be set aside. There is no doubt that the application in the lower court is not for an Order to set aside but to register a Foreign Judgment. Notwithstanding, the requirements under S6(2) and S6(3) are germane to all Foreign Judgment applications. This is because prescribed conditions therein will serve as a guard for the court to avoid circumstances wherein a registered Judgment will be subsequently set aside on the basis of the provision stated in S6 of the Act. The provision therein is not mandatory but necessary when considering whether a Foreign Judgment will be registered or not … Therefore once Applicant seeking registration has presented facts to support the prerequisites under S4 for registration, the lower court must presume the foreign court had jurisdiction. The court will refuse to register a foreign Judgment when these aforesaid conditions have not been fulfilled inclusive of where the Judgment could not be enforced by execution in the country of the original court. The conditions set out under S4 of the foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act should be considered by the Learned Trial Judge before registering the Judgment or refusing to register.

— R.O. Nwodo, JCA. Teleglobe v 21st Century Tech. (2008) – CA/L/694/2006

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THE REGISTERING COURT AND THE ORIGINAL COURT SHOULD KEEP WATCH NOT TO CONFLICT IN EXECUTION

The process of execution of a judgment may take different forms and may necessitate other ancillary proceedings. In the quest to eliminate any conflict of jurisdiction as to execution between the registering court and the original court, it is important for either of the courts to discover what is being done or has been done by either of them at a particular time before either assumes jurisdiction. It seems to me that the matter boils down to the necessity for both courts to prevent an abuse of its execution process rather than in the proclamation of principles.

— Oguntade, JCA. Adwork Ltd. v Nigeria Airways Ltd. (1999) – CA/L/156/99

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FOREIGN JUDGEMENTS CAN ONLY BE REGISTERED WITHIN 12 MONTHS IF NO EXTENSION OF PART 1 OF THE 1990 ACT

This court in the case of Macaulay v. R. Z. B. Austria (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt.852) 282 at pp. 298H -299 A – B, per Kalgo, JSC observed as follows: “By this provision, irrespective, regardless or inspite of any other provision in the 1990 Act, any judgment of a foreign country including United Kingdom to which part 1 of that Act was not extended, can only be registered within twelve months from the date of the judgment or any longer period allowed by the court registering the judgment since the provisions of Part 1 of the said Act had not been extended to it. Section 4 of the 1990 Act which speaks of registering a judgment within 6 years after the date of judgment only applies to the countries where Part 1 of the said Act was extended, that is to say, when the Minister made an order under the 1990 Act; and in this case it was not.”

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MEANING OF “OR” IN RELATION GROUNDS UPON WHICH FOREIGN JUDGEMENT MAY NOT BE REGISTERED

Section 3(2)(a-f) of the 1958 Act quoted above specified the grounds upon which foreign Judgment should not be registered. The grounds are alternative grounds and cannot be combined. I agree with the submission of the learned Senior Counsel for the Respondent that the word “or” used in between the grounds is disjunctive and not conjunctive. The word “or” suggests that one cannot rely on the two grounds at the same time.

— J.O. Bada, JCA. Conoil v Vitol (2011) – CA/A/213/2010

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