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THE 1958 RECIPROCAL ACT APPLIES SINCE THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE IS YET TO MAKE AN ORDER UNDER THE 1990 ACT

Dictum

Taking into consideration that Part I of the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, CAP 152 of the Laws of the Federation, 1990, comprising Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, is to come into force only at the instance of the Minister of Justice by an order issued by him as specified in Section 3 of the Act, and in the absence of this order directing the application of Part I of the Act to the chosen countries specified in the order, the provisions of the earlier 1958 Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act CAP 175, remains applicable to the registration of foreign Judgments in Nigeria, particularly Judgments of the United Kingdom, one of which is the subject of this appeal. In other words Section 6 of the 1990, Act which was relied upon by the parties at the Courts below and interpreted and applied by the Court of Appeal below in its Judgment, is yet to come into force in the absence of the Order to bring it into force together with the other Sections in Part I of the Act by the Hon. Minister of Justice. This situation makes it necessary to fall back to the 1958 Ordinance to determine whether or not the Foreign Judgment of the Appellant was registrable under that Act.

— M. Mohammed, JSC. Grosvenor v Halaloui (2009) – SC.373/2002

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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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ORIGINAL COURT WHICH GAVE JUDGEMENT DOES NOT LOSE JURISDICTION IN RELATION TO THE EXECUTION PROCESS

I am in agreement with the learned counsel for the respondent, that the original court which gave judgment does not lose its jurisdiction in relation to the execution process in the case just because the judgment has been registered in a foreign country. But, once it is recognised that a registering court has the same power with respect to execution as the original court, it becomes important to monitor closely what the registering court is doing in relation to the execution of a particular registered judgment in order to ensure that there is no conflict in the exercise of powers as to execution between the registering court and the court which originally gave the judgment.

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

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REGISTERING COURT CANNOT SIT AS APPELLATE COURT OVER JUDGEMENT SOUGHT TO BE REGISTERED

The law is that it is not the duty of the registering Court to sit on appeal over the decision of the original Court that delivered the Judgment sought to be registered. My view above is fortified by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of:- – Witt & Busch Ltd. v. Dale Power Systems Plc (2007) 17 NWLR part 1062 Page 1 at 23 – 24 Paragraphs G – A; where it was held as follows:- “I entirely agree with the statement of the laws as declared in the lead judgment particularly on the point that section 3 (1) of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgment Ordinance was applicable to the case. I will also add that it is not the duty of the Court entertaining application for the registration of a foreign judgment to sit as an appellate Court over the foreign judgment. The Respondent to the judgment sought to be registered is expected to have exercised its right of appeal under the laws of the foreign country. All that the Court to which the application is made needs to do is to ensure that the Appellant complies with the requirements of our laws on registration of foreign judgment. I believe that requirement has been met.”

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

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COURT CAN SET ASIDE THE REGISTRATION OF A FOREIGN JUDGEMENT

In any case, the authority, power or jurisdiction to set aside the registration of a foreign judgment as seen above is provided by statute and the courts have recognised that position in a number of decisions. See Hyppolite v. Egharevba (1998) 11 NWLR (Pt. 575) 598 at 614 and 617, Berliet (Nig.) v. Kachalla (1995) 9 NWLR (Pt.420) 478, Dale Power System v. Witt and Busch (2001) 8 NWLR (Pt.716) 699 at 708 and Halaoui v. Grosvenor Ltd. (2002) 17 NWLR (Pt.795) 28 at 42-3.

— Garba, JCA. Shona-Jason v Omega Air (2005) – CA/L/418/2000

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FOREIGN DECISIONS ARE ONLY OF PERSUASIVE VALUE

In Olafisoye v. FRN (2004) 4 NWLR (Pt. 864) 580, Niki Tobi JSC (God bless his soul) had emphatically held inter alia thus: Decisions of Foreign Countries are merely of persuasive authority. This Court will certainly allow itself to be persuaded in appropriate cases but this Court will not stray away from its course of interpreting the Nigerian Constitution by resorting to foreign decisions which were decided strictly in the context of their Constitution and which are not similar to ours. See also Okon v. The State (1988) 1 NWLR (Pt. 69) 172 @ p. 180, where Nnemeka-Agu, JSC had stated inter alia thus: ”It is well to remember not only that a foreign decision should at best be of persuasive authority in a Nigerian Court but also that before it can even qualify as such, the legislation, substantive or adjectival, upon which it was based must be in pari materia with our own. It is dangerous to follow a foreign decision simply because its wording approximates to our own. Nigerian Courts are obliged to give Nigerian Legislation its natural and ordinary meaning, taking into account our own sociological circumstances as well as other factors which form the background of our Local Legislation in question. A Copy-Cat transportation of an English decision may in some circumstance turn out to be inimical to justice in our own Courts. See also Adetoun Oladeji (Nig) Ltd v. Nigerian Breweries PLC (2007) LPELR 160 (SC) Dada v. The State (1977) NCLR 135; Eliochin Nig. Ltd. v. Mbadiwe (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt. 14) 47; Nigerian National Supply Co. Ltd v. Alhaji Hamajode Sabana Co. Ltd (No 3) (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt. 74) 23: Senator Adesanya v. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) 5 SC 112; Yahaya v. State (2002) 3 NWLR (Pt. 754) 289.

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EXECUTION BY REGISTERING COURT AND ORIGINAL COURT

When a judgment has been pronounced and no appeal is brought by the parties, the execution of the judgment normally follows. All types of application may follow and these usually include stay of execution, instalmental payment, variation etc. It seems to me that applications, other than those directed specifically at obtaining satisfaction of the judgment are properly brought before the court which originally gave the judgment even in cases where the judgment has been registered in a Foreign Court. On the other hand, application arising out of execution of writs taken out in the registering court ought to be heard by the registering court. This is without prejudice to the power of the court which originally gave the judgment to enforce by execution its judgment even when the judgment has been registered in a foreign court. The way it works is that either court must satisfy itself that the execution power is not being exercised simultaneously in this exercise of the concurrent jurisdiction in the original and the registering court.

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

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