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WHERE NO APPEAL AGAINST SPECIFIC FINDINGS, THOSE FINDINGS REMAIN UNASSAILABLE

Dictum

The excerpts above of the trial Court findings and conclusions were not appealed against at the lower Court which throws up the settled law that where there is no appeal against specific findings of fact made at the trial Court, those findings remain for all time unassailable and deemed accepted as representing the true state of affairs. It therefore becomes futile trying to smuggle those same issues at another level of appeal since they have in effect been conceded by the party against whom they were decided and remains valid and binding on all parties forever. I rely on Anyanwu v Ogunewe (2014) All FWLR (Pt. 738) 1012 at 1037; Nwankwo v Yar’Adua (2010) All FWLR (Pt.534) 1; L.A. & A.C. Ltd v U.B.A. Plc (2014) All FWLR (Pt.739) 1080 at 1094.

— M.U. Peter-Odili, JSC. MTN v. Corporate (2019) – SC.674/2014

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WHEN FINDINGS OF FACT OF TRIAL COURT ARE NOT APPEALED, THERE NO NEED FOR APPELLATE COURT TO REVIEW THEM

There was, with the greatest respect, no earthly reason for the Court of Appeal to review the pleadings and the evidence in view of the findings of fact of the trial Court at p.160 that EXS.D and E were not loan receipts but receipts for the sale of land and the conclusion of law at p.161 “that all the plaintiff got by virtue of the receipts Exhibits D and E was an equitable interest”. There was no cross-appeal by the 2nd Defendant challenging the above findings. What the Court below should have then concentrated on would have been the legal effect of the above findings on the relationship of the Plaintiff and the 2nd Defendant.

— Oputa, JSC. Osagie v. Oyeyinka & Anor. (1987) – SC.194/1985

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COURT CANNOT REVIVE AN INCOMPETENT APPEAL

The inherent jurisdiction to regulate proceedings in this court does not arise until there is a lis extant upon which the inherent jurisdiction operates. There is no provision either in the Constitution, the Court of Appeal Act or Court of Appeal Rules vesting this court with jurisdiction to validate by rectifying defects in appeals which are otherwise incompetent. There is no power in this court to entertain any application for or grant any relief in respect of a putative or incompetent appeal.

— Salami, JCA. Ifeajuna v. Ifeajuna (1998) – CA/E/181/97

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WHERE NO APPEAL, DECISION IS DEEMED ACCEPTED BY THE PARTY

The settled position of the law applicable in the given circumstance is as straight forward as it comes and that is to the effect that a decision of Court against which no Appeal has been filed is deemed accepted by the party against whom the decision was entered and therefore binding. In the same token, the law is trite that a decision or conclusion or finding not appealed against is deemed correct and binding between the parties. See the cases of ODIASE v. AGHO and ORS (1972) 1 ALL NLR (Pt. 1) 170 AT 176; MELIFONWU v. EGBUJI (1982) 9 SC. 145 AT 165; BIARIKO v. EDEH-OGWUILE (2001) 12 NWLR (Pt. 726) 235; IYOHO v. EFFIONG (2007) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1044) 31; and S.P.D.C. v. X.M. FED. LTD (2006) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1004) 189 where the Supreme Court per ONNOGHEN, JSC had this to say on the subject: “It is settled law that a decision of a Court not Appealed against remains valid, subsisting, and binding between the parties and is presumed acceptable to the parties.”

— F.O. Oho, JCA. Nasiru v State (2016) – CA/S/78C/2015

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PARTY CANNOT RAISE NEW ARGUMENT FOR THE FIRST TIME ON APPEAL WITHOUT LEAVE

A counsel cannot make out a case not pleaded by a litigant in his address before the court. Where the appellant did not predicate her case on customary law before the lower court, she cannot raise same here afresh before this court. The simple answer is that an appeal is not a new action but a continuation of the matter which is the subject – mater of the appeal. Hence an appellant cannot be allowed to set up a case different to that which was made out at the court below. This is because the appellate court would not have had the benefit of the opinion of the lower court on the issue. Eze V. A- G Rivers State (2001) 18 NWLR pt, 746, pg. 524 Ejiofodomi V. Okonkwo (1982) II SC 74 Dwege V. Iyamahan (1983) 8 SC 76 A-G Oyo State V. Fairlakes Hotels Limited (1988) 5 NWLR pt. 92, pg. 1 FRN V. Zebra Energy Limited (2002) 3 NWLR pt. 754, pg. 471.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Agboola v UBA (2011) – SC.86/2003

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WHAT DOES “APPEAL” MEANS?

The word “appeal” is simply to make a formal request to somebody in authority “for a decision to be changed” Oxford Learners Dictionary. In an Appeal, the lower Court’s decision is submitted to a higher Court “for review and possible reversal” see Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Ed.

— A.A. Augie, JSC. Usman v The State (2019) – SC.228/2016

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AN APPEAL IS AGAINST A RATIO, NOT OBITER

It also has to be observed that an appeal is usually against a ratio not normally against an obiter except in cases where the obiter is so closely linked with the ratio as to be deemed to have radically influenced the latter. But even there, the appeal is still against the ratio.

— Oputa, JSC. Saude v. Abdullahi (1989) – SC.197/1987

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