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WHAT IS A DECISION ON MERIT?

Dictum

TOMTEC NIGERIA LIMITED VS FEDERAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (2009) 12 SCNJ 190 AT 201 -202 where this Court held “A decision on merit is one rendered after argument and investigation and a determination as to which of the parties is in the right as distinguished from a judgment or decision rendered upon some preliminary or formal part or by default and without trial”.

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WHERE NO APPEAL ON A DECISION THE DECISION REMAINS BINDING

Where a party, be it an Appellant or Respondent does not appeal against a finding or an order of Court, by way of a ground of appeal, a cross-appeal or a Respondent’s notice, that order or finding is binding and acceptable to it. The Respondent herein has not appealed against the order made to introduce and argue the two grounds of appeal. Therefore, the order is binding on it.

– Yahaya, JCA. Petroleum Resources v. SPDC (2021)

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WHAT IS INTERLOCUTORY AND WHAT IS A RULING?

My humble view is that the word “interlocutory” simply means “(of an order, judgment, appeal, etc) interim or temporary; not constituting a final resolution of the whole controversy.” A “ruling” is “the outcome of a Court’s decision either on some points of law or on the case as a whole.” See Blacks Law Dictionary, 9th edition, pages 889 and 1450.

— J.T. Tur, JCA. Abdulkardir Abacha v Kurastic [2014] – CA/A/406/2010

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DECISION OF COURT WHICH APPEARS SUBSTANTIALLY REGULAR IS PRESUMED TO BE CORRECT

The duty of every appellant is to show and or establish that the decision he has appealed was wrong or unreasonable. Every decision of a Court of law, a judicial act, done in a manner substantially regular is presumed to be correct and that formal requisites for its validity were complied with. The presumption of regularity under Section 167(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011 is all about this.

— E. Eko, JSC. Kassim v. State (2017) – SC.361/2015

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CONFLICT BETWEEN SUPREME COURT DECISION AND THAT OF COURT OF APPEAL, SUPREME COURT WILL PREVAIL

Under the rules of precedent or stare decisis it is the judgment of the Supreme Court as the final appellate court that should be binding on the Court of Appeal. Thus where there is a conflict between the Supreme Court’s decision and that of the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court’s decision should prevail and be binding on the Court of Appeal or any other court, notwithstanding any error in the former.

— Adeyemo v. Ida & Ors. (1998) – CA/1/6/92

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APPELLATE COURT IS ONLY CONCERNED WITH DECISION OF COURT NOT REASONS GIVEN

Ndayoko & Ors. V. Alhaji Dantoro & Ors (2004) 13 NWLR (Pt. 889) 187 @ p. 198, where Edozie JSC., had pronounced with finality on this vexed issue, thus: “An appellate Court is only concerned with whether the judgment appealed against is right or wrong not whether the reasons given are right or wrong. Where the judgment is right but the reasons given are wrong, the appellate Court does not interfere. It is only where the misdirection has caused the Court to come to a wrong conclusion that the appellate Court will interfere….”

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TRIAL COURT DECISION WILL NOT BE SET ASIDE IF FINDING IS SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE

The decision of a trial Court would not be set aside merely because this Court would have employed a different procedure for the evaluation of the evidence, drawn different inferences and reached different conclusion on some or even all of the facts. The important thing is that the decision of a trial Court can be apparently supported by the evidence placed before it.

– M.L. Garba JCA. Odogwu v. Vivian (2009) – CA/PH/345/05

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