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TIMELINESS OF JUDGEMENT RENDERING

Dictum

But, all the same, certainty of the law is not all that easy as it sounds. Certainty, however, goes along with timeliness. The parties come before either court, with rival or opposing propositions of law. The duty of a Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court is heavier therefore when determining certainty of law from that of the court of first instance. In any case, what is uppermost is timeliness and certainty. Whatever research is necessary, the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court judgment should be delivered within the time limit. It is, therefore, advisable that the date of judgment should be fixed on the conclusion of argument. The Court will, therefore, not lose sight of the necessary time factor. The parties will also be satisfied that their rights will be determined on a date within a limited period. This will give more credibility and sanctity to a judgment.

— Sowemimo, JSC. Odi v Osafile (1985) – SC.144/1983

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COURT JUDGEMENT IS VALID UNTIL APPEALED AGAINST

The law is settled that the judgment of any competent Court, once perfected, and not appealed against, is valid and subsisting until it is set aside by competent Court or authority.

– Kekere-ekun JSC. Adegbanke v. Ojelabi (2021)

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ARBITRAL AWARDS HAVE SAME FORCE AS A JUDGEMENT OF A COURT

Onwu v. Nka (1996) 7 NWLR (Pt.458) 1 at 17 paragraph E, where the Supreme Court, per Iguh JSC. had this to say: “The law is well settled that where disputes or matters in difference between two or more parties are by consent of the disputants submitted to a domestic forum inclusive of arbitrators or a body of persons who may be invested with judicial authority to hear and determine such disputes and matters for investigation in accordance with customary law and general usages, and a decision is duly given, it is as conclusive and unimpeachable (unless and until set aside on any of the recognized grounds) as the decision of any constituted court of the land, such a decision is consequently binding on the parties and the courts in appropriate cases will enforce it.”

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IF THE JUDGEMENT OF A COURT IS CORRECT, IT WILL NOT BE REVERSED BECAUSE A WRONG LAW WAS RELIED UPON

Although the court below relied on the inapplicable 1990 Act or Law in arriving at its said decision, it is now firmly settled that what an appeal has to declare, is whether the decision of the court below, was/is right. If the judgment of a court is correct, it is not liable to reversal merely because it was anchored on a wrong reason or law. In other words, a mistake or error in a judgment, is immaterial provided it has not occasioned a miscarriage of justice. It is not every mistake or error in a judgment, that necessarily, determines an appeal in favour of an appellant. See the cases of Ayeni & 3 Ors. v. Sowemimo (1982) NSCC 104; (1982) 5 S.C. (Reprint) 29; Onajobi v. Olanipekun (1985) 4 S.C. (pt.2) 156 at 163 and Odukwe v. Mrs. Ogunbiyi (1998) 8 NWLR (Pt….) 339 at 351; (1998) 6 SCNJ. 102 at 113 just to mention a few.

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

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WHAT IS A FINAL JUDGEMENT

A judgment of court which finally settles the rights of the parties in the subject matter of the claim in the sense that it was not given in default of a Statement of Defence is a final judgment.

– Karibi-Whyte, JSC. Afegbai v. A.G Edo State (2001)

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TO VARY COURT JUDGEMENT, RESPONDENT NEEDS TO FILE RESPONDENT’S NOTICE

The 1st defendant cannot in the circumstances of this case, it not having appealed and not having filed a respondent’s notice, pray for a variation in the judgment in its favour.

— Obaseki, JSC. Foreign Finance Corp. v Lagos State Devt. & Pty. Corp. & Ors. (1991) – SC. 9/1988

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JUDGEMENT WRITING BY A JUDGE IS A MATTER OF STYLE BUT MUST BEAR ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

I accept the view that writing of a judgment is an art. I also accept the view that in carrying out this art, each Judge is free to follow his own style to produce a good product. But it is very essential that a Judge must show a clear understanding of the facts in that case, the issues involved, the law applicable and from all these to draw the right conclusions and make a correct finding on the credible evidence before him.

— Umaru Abdullai, J.C.A. JIMOH ABDULLAHI & Ors. v THE STATE (1995) – CA/K/180/C/94

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