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TRIAL JUDGE IMPORTED EQUITABLE CONSIDERATION INTO HIS JUDGEMENT

Dictum

By importing equitable consideration into his judgment, the learned trial Judge by what I term judicial legislation threw overboard and or repealed Exhibit –D” which is the applicable customary law to the chieftaincy. The court does not have that power. The office of the judge is jus dicere, not jus dare. See Okumagba v. Egbe (1965) All NLR 62 at 67.

— Ogwuegbu, JSC. Ogundare v Ogunlowo (1997) – SC.25/1994

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JUDGEMENT IN REM – IT DETERMINE THE STATUS OF A THING OR PERSON

Now, in Law, a judgment in personam is a judgment against persons who are parties or privies to the particular suit or proceeding alone. It is referred to as judgment inter parties. It is a judgment binding on the parties to the action alone. A judgment in rem on the other hand, is a judgment that determines the status of a person or thing as distinct from referred to as a the particular interest of a party to the litigation. It judgment contra-mundum, binding on the whole World. It is therefore binding, not only on the parties to the dispute but even on non-parties. Therefore, once the status of a person or thing has been pronounced upon by a Court of competent jurisdiction, no person is permitted to assert the contrary of what the Court has determined. See Black’s Law Dictionary (11th Edition) at page 1008; Gbemisola v. Bolarinwa (2014) 9 NWLR (pt. 1411) 1 at 19; Yanaty Petrochemical Ltd v. EFCC (2017) LPELR -43473 (SC) and Ladejobi & Ors v. Oguntayo & Ors (2015) LPELR-4170 (CA). A judgment in rem therefore, is an adjudication which pronounced upon the status of a particular subject matter, by a Court of competent jurisdiction.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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JUSTICE CANNOT BE METED TO SOMEONE WHO HAS HIS HANDS SOILED

This court being a court of justice is a temple of justice adhering to the symbol of a blindfolded woman with a scale on one hand and a sword on the other to render “justice” (not injustice), to all manner of people. Indeed the beauty and greatness nay the purity of justice, in all its consuming allure and essence is to ferret out from the mass of facts and law before it, relevant points in order to give remedy to anyone who comes for that. It is not justice meted to someone who does not deserve it when that person craving for it has his hand soiled, blemished, and besmirched. It is my view that the appellants cannot eat their cake and have it. I believe that it is not only the litigants in this case but millions of our country men with an abiding faith in the nature of our jurisprudence as practised in our courts’ who have access to the courts to seek justice not adulterated justice, or justice shrouded in clouds of euphemisms or where the court would wring its hands and declare that the case does follow a regular or laid down pattern that would benefit from justice founded on law and ethics.

– Pats-Acholonu, J.S.C. Pinder v. North (2004)

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A MERE VARIATION OF PANEL DOES NOT NULLIFY JUDGEMENT OF COURT

This is also settled, a mere variation in the composition of a Panel or tribunal or court, which does not affect the substance of the inquiry, cannot touch or affect, the judgment or decision, of such a body neither does such variation, render the judgment or decision, a nullity.

— Ogbuagu JSC. Ndukwe v LPDC [2007] – SC 48/2003

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PARTY CANNOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AN ILLEGALITY HE KNOWS

A party cannot resile from his obligation under a contract because he never followed what the law required; in essence he cannot take refuge from his contractual obligations on the pre of his own illegality in so far as the other party was not aware of the illegality at the time of the transaction.

– Belgore, J.S.C. Pinder v. North (2004)

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JUDGEMENT IN REM VS JUDGEMENT IN PERSONAM

In Dike & Ors v. Nzeka II & Ors (1986) LPELR – 945 (SC), the Supreme Court held thusly – “It is therefore necessary to have a clear idea of the distinction between a judgment tin rem and a judgment in personam. A judgment is said to be in rem when it is an adjudication pronounced upon the Status of some particular thing or subject matter by a tribunal having the jurisdiction and the competence to pronounce on that Status. Such a judgment is usually and invariably founded on proceedings instituted against or on something or subject-matter whose status or condition is to be determined. It is thus a solemn declaration on the status of some persons or thing. It is therefore binding on all persons in so far as their interests in the status of the property or person are concerned. That is why a judgment in rem is a judgment contra mundum binding on the whole world – parties as well as nonparties. A judgment in personam, on the other hand, is on an entirely different footing. It is a judgment against a particular person as distinguished from a judgment declaring the status of a particular person or thing. A judgment in personam will be more accurately called a judgment inter partes. A judgment in personam usually creates a personal obligation as it determines the rights of parties inter se to, or in the subject-matter in dispute whether it be land or other corporeal property or liquidated or unliquidated demand, but does not affect the status of either the persons to the dispute or the thing in dispute.”

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A CONCURRING OPINION HAS EQUAL WEIGHT AND FORCE AS A LEAD JUDGEMENT

It is settled law that a contributory or concurring judgment has equal weight as the lead judgment. It is part of the lead judgment and therefore has the same force and binding effect. The mere fact that a concurring or contributory judgment contains what is not in the lead judgment will not whittle down its binding effect. Thus in Olufeagba & Ors v. Abdur Raheem (2009) LPELR-2613(SC), my Lord Fabiyi, JSC said: “A concurring judgment, has equal weight with or as a lead judgment. A concurring judgment compliments, edifies and adds to the lead judgment, when the justice, add to it certain aspects which the writer of the lead judgment did not remember to deal with. In so far as a concurring judgment performs same or all the above functions, it has equal force with or as the lead judgment in so far as the principles of stare decisis are concerned.”

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. APM v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/04/2023

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