Diary of a Naija Lawyer


Diary of a Naija lawyer features a collection of remarkable experiences of Nigerian lawyers. Pull up a seat and enjoy this episode about a lawyer’s first experience at the court of appeal.

My First Appearance at the court of appeal

It was Sunday evening. I just finished ironing the clothes I was planning to wear the next day when my phone started ringing. It was my boss.

Okay, why is Oga calling? I hope it’s not for an impromptu trip to a court outside Ibadan. I thought to myself. Good evening Sir, I greeted him as I accepted his call. Good evening dear, he replied. I just remembered we have a case at the Court of Appeal and we also have a hearing tomorrow in Justice Abass’ court. I have to be at the hearing. So please, you have to be at work early tomorrow so you can appear at the court of appeal. All you have to do is apply to withdraw the matter. Nothing more. It’s a simple thing. Hol up! You say what? Of course, I didn’t say that out loud. How could he use simple and Court of Appeal in the same sentence when I had never appeared alone at the Court of Appeal.

This looks fishy, I thought.

So, I asked him. Won’t we need to file an application before withdrawing the matter?

No, there’s no need for that. It won’t be opposed, just apply orally. Okay, Sir. I responded as he ended the call. I didn’t have a copy of the Court of Appeal Rules at home so I took his word for it. I got to work the next day, grabbed the file and hurried to the Court. I didn’t want to be late. I wasn’t planning on drawing any unnecessary attention to myself. I got there in time and when our case was called, made an oral application to withdraw the matter after announcing my appearance. One of the justices asked me when I was called to the Bar. Oluwa o!  If there was anything I had learnt in court, it was that what always follows that question is never nice.

“2013 my Lord,” I answered.

Well, you are a young wig but irrespective of that, how do you come before the Court without going through your rules? If your principal didn’t tell you what to do, the rules would have informed you that you have to file an application for withdrawal.

Her Lordship was on this matter for 5 good minutes. In the end, she granted my application but reminded me to never appear in court unprepared. As I look back now, all I can say is wahala for who no dey use Lawpavilion o.

If I had access to LawPavilion back then, I would have accessed the rules of the court from the comfort of my home. Anyway, the suit was withdrawn, they say all’s well that ends well right.

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Diary of a Naija LawyerLawPavilionNigerian Lawyers

lawpavilion • April 19, 2022

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