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USING BOTH SIMILAR GROUNDS FROM ORIGINAL NOTICE OF APPEAL AND AMENDED NOTICE OF APPEAL

Dictum

Equity follows the law and does always look at the substance and not the form. The 3rd Respondent on this point of his preliminary objection appears to be blighted by the form, and not the substance. Upon my careful perusal of grounds 1, 2, 3 & 6 of the Amended Notice of Appeal they appear to be substantially the replication of grounds 1, 2 & 3 of the original notice of appeal, grounds 4 in the original notice of appeal and the amended notice of appeal and the amended notice of appeal are identical. Similarly, ground 5 in the original notice of appeal was replicated, in ground 5 of the amended notice of appeal. The two grounds are identical. I do not, therefore, think that the respondents in the appeal have been misled, embarrassed or in any way prejudged by the Appellants merely indicating that their issue 1 has been formulated from original grounds 1, 2 & 3 as well as grounds 1, 2, 3 & 6 in the Amended Notice of Appeal. The Respondents similarly are not misled and prejudiced by the Appellants indicating that issues 2 & 3 are issues the subject of identical grounds 4 & 5 in both the original notice of appeal and the Amended Notice of Appeal respectively. Therefore, using blue pencil rule to discountenance, references, in the Appellants’ issues for determination of the appeal in their brief, to grounds 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 in the original notice of appeal filed on 9th August, 2016 will, in the peculiar facts of this case, meet the ends of substantial justice. Courts these days strive to doing substantial justice as they now turn away from arcane technicality.

— Ejembi Eko, JSC. Oboh & Anor v. NFL (SC.841/2016, January 28, 2022)

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APPEALING MIXED LAW AND FACT REQUIRES LEAVE OF COURT

Where the law or rule prescribed the procedure to be taken in the performance of an act is not complied with, the performance of the act in the circumstance is a nullity. Section 233 (3) (a) provides that subject to the provisions of “Subsection (2) of this section, an appeal shall lie from the decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court with leave of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.” In other words, a party desiring to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court on mixed law and facts or facts is required to obtain the leave of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court to file the notice and grounds of appeal.

— W.S.N. Onnoghen, JSC. SPDC v Agbara (2019) – SC.731/2017(R)

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RESPONDENT RESTRICTED TO GROUNDS OF APPEAL

It is settled law that where a respondent filed neither cross-appeal nor respondent’s notice, he does not have an unrestrained or unbridled freedom to raise issues for determination which have no bearing or relevance to the ground(s) of appeal filed. – Onnoghen JSC. Chami v. UBA (2010)

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ISSUE MUST HAVE A GROUND OF APPEAL SUPPORTING IT

Issues for determination numbers (1), (3), (4) and (6) are based on no grounds of appeal at all or upon grounds 4 and 5 which had already been struck out. This should not be. Counsel will do well to remember that issues for determination must arise from and relate to the grounds of appeal filed, and no more. Conversely, any issue for determination which has no ground of appeal to support it is worse than useless: See on this Osinupebi v Saibu & ors. (1982) 7 S.C. 104 at pp. 110-111; also Western Steel Works Limited & Anor. v. Iron & Steel Workers Union of Nigeria (1987) 1N. W.L.R. (Part 49) 284, at p. 304.

— Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Ugo v Obiekwe (1989) – SC.207/1985

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ISSUES OF DETERMINATION ARISE FROM APPEAL GROUNDS

It is settled law that issues for determination must be distilled from grounds of appeal which ground(s) must attack the ratio decidendi of the judgment not anything said by the way, or obiter dicta or be formulated in vacuo , as issue 5 in the instant case. – Onnoghen JSC. Chami v. UBA (2010)

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GROUND WILL BE ABANDONED WHERE NO ARGUMENT SUBMISSION FOR SAME

I have to observe that learned counsel for the appellants did not make any submission in relation to issue No C as formulated by him in the brief of argument and is consequently deemed to have been abandoned.

– WS Onnoghen, JSC. Calabar CC v. Ekpo (2008)

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ISSUES MUST FALL WITHIN THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL FILED

It is necessary to emphasise the purpose of formulating issues for determination in briefs. Like pleadings to a litigation between the parties, the issues formulated are intended to accentuate the real issues for determination before the Court. The grounds of appeal allege the complaints of errors of law, fact or mixed law and fact against the judgment appealed against. The issues for determination accentuate the issues in the grounds of appeal relevant to the determination of the appeal in the light of the grounds of errors alleged. Hence the issues for determination cannot and should not be at large, but must fall within the purview of the grounds of appeal filed.

— A.G. Karibi-Whyte, JSC. Olowosago V. Adebanjo (SC.134/86, 29 Sep 1988)

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