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WHAT IS AN ACADEMIC ISSUE

Dictum

An academic issue or question is one which does not require answer or adjudication by a Court of law because it is not necessary to the case on hand. An academic issue or question could be a hypothetical or moot question. An academic issue or question does not relate to the live issue in the litigation because it is as it will not enure an if right or benefit on the successful party. Per NIKI TOBI, JSC @ 35 paragraphs D-H. Plateau State VS. AG. FEDERATION (2006) 3 NWLR (pt. 976) 346; OGBONNA VS. PRESIDENT FRN (1997) 5 NWLR (pt. 504) 281; HON. EKEBEDE UCHENNA VS. PDP & ORS: delivered on 03/3/2023 SC/CV/148/2023.

— I.M.M. Saulawa JSC. Peter Obi & Anor. v. INEC & Ors. (SC/CV/937/2023, Thursday the 26th day of October 2023)

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WHEN IS A SUIT ACADEMIC

I now go to-the merits of the appeal and that takes me to what is an academic matter. In Plateau State v. Attorney General of the Federation (2006) 3 NWLR (Pt.967) 346, I said at page 419: “A suit is academic where it is merely theoretical, makes empty sound, and of no practical utilitarian value to the plaintiff even if judgment is given in his favour. A suit is academic if it is not related to practical situation of human nature and humanity”. An academic issue or question is one which does not require answer or adjudication by a court of law because it is not necessary to the case on hand. An academic issue or question could be a hypothetical or moot question. An academic issue or question does not relate to the live issues in the litigation because it is spent as it will not enure any right or benefit on the successful party.

– Tobi JSC. Odedo v. INEC (2008)

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CONCEDE A POINT WHICH IS NOT ARGUABLE

The stance of the learned Counsel for the Respondent in this respect is commendable. It is prudent to concede a point which is not a moot one. That is how to assess a counsel who knows his onions very well.

– Afolabi Fabiyi JCA. Mueller v. Mueller (2005)

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APPELLATE COURT DOES NOT INDULGE IN ACADEMIC ISSUES

It is however worthy of note that the appellant locked up the premises for over 7 years without paying any rents. When she was ejected from the premises and another tenant moved into the premises to replace her, she did not ask for a stay of execution of the order both at the Magistrate Court or at the High Court. The essence of this appeal is for this court to put her back into the property for which she has not paid any rents from July, 1991 to December, 1997. In my opinion, the sum total of the foregoing submission is an eye-opener to the fact that there is no live issue in this appeal. It is now overtaken by events and it is not physically possible to put the appellant back on the premises as it is sure that she will not even be interested in such a move having been away from the premises for a number of years. The judgment of the Magistrate Court A was delivered in November 1997, the judgment of the High Court in March 2001, while this appeal is being heard in November 2005, almost eight years after delivery of the judgment at the Magistrate Court. The hearing and determination of the appeal has now become an academic exercise. The attitude of the appellate courts is not to indulge in an academic exercise by entertainingan issue, which does not affect the merit of the appeal.

– ADEKEYE JCA. Anyafulu v. Agazie (2005)

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COURTS OF LAW DO NOT ENTERTAIN ACADEMIC ISSUES

The issue of applicable law was never raised or joined by the parties in the lower court. That court did not make any finding or decision on the issue or question of applicable law as far as the records of appeal show. That must be why the appellant did not file any ground of appeal against or raise a decision of the lower court on the applicable law. Since the question was not raised nor was it pronounced upon by the lower court, I consider it purely academic and not relevant to the determination of the issues raised in this appeal. The consistent attitude of the courts over the years is that it is not their function to entertain and decide such issues. See Bamgboye v. University of Ilorin (1999) 10 NWLR (Pt. 622) 290 at 26 and NICON v. Power and Industrial Engineering (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt. 14) 1 at 22. The issue of applicable law was never in doubt before the lower court and indeed in this court.

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

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ACADEMIC MATTERS ARE NOT FOR THE COURTS, BUT FOR FACULTIES OF LAW

My lords, in law the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine matters which are merely academic or hypothetical or which due to the occurrences of certain vents had rendered such matters even if pending merely academic or hypothetical. The Court are loath to saddle themselves with the consideration of matters which though pending before them had become merely academic and therefore, of no utilitarian value to either of the parties. To embark on such exercise of the jurisdiction of the Court over matters which are no longer live and are best suited for the Faculties of Law in the several Universities scattered all over the Country, would clearly amount to nothing but sheer waste of the very precious and, if I may say scarce, judicial time. Thus, for a Court to continue to exercise its jurisdiction over matters pending before it, such matters must remain live and of utilitarian value to one or more of the parties in the matter.

– B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Ganiyu v. Oshoakpemhe & Ors. (2021) – CA/B/12A/2021

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WHEN IS THERE NO LIVE ISSUE BETWEEN THE PARTIES

There cannot be said to be a live issue in a litigation if what is presented to the Court for a decision, when decided, cannot affect the parties thereto in any way either because of the fundamental nature of the reliefs sought or of changed circumstances since after the litigation started. In the instant case, it would be, in my opinion, the pursuit of great injustice, if the learned trial Judge, discovering the absence of a live issue in the suit, had allowed sleeping dogs to lie.

— C.C. Nweze, JSC. Uzoho v NCP (SC.141/2007, Friday, May 13, 2022)

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