EFFECT OF DELIVERING THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT AFTER THE SCHEDULED DATE WITHOUT NOTICE TO ONE OF THE PARTIES

BTFTK BANNERCASE TITLE: OKOYE & ANOR v. MBAYA (2020) LPELR-49161(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 10TH JANUARY, 2020

PRACTICE AREA: CIVIL PROCEDURE

LEAD JUDGE: ABDULLAHI MAHMUD BAYERO, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

 INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on civil procedure.

FACTS

This appeal is against the decision of the High Court of Adamawa State.
This Appeal originated from the Adamawa State Upper Area Court No. 2 in case number UAC/24/CV/F1/23/2013 wherein the Respondent as Plaintiff before the trial Upper Area Court sued the 1st Appellant. On 6/11/2013, the Respondent/Plaintiff through his Counsel C. K. Atiman Esq. applied orally to join the 2nd Appellant. The application was granted. Two witnesses PW1 and PW2 testified for the Respondent/Plaintiff. The Appellant/Defendant did not present any witness. The trial court entered judgment in favour of the Respondent.

Dissatisfied, the Appellants appealed to the lower Court.

The lower Court delivered its judgment on 19th December 2016 in favour of the Respondent. Miffed with the judgment, the Appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court adopted the following issues for the determination of the appeal:

  1. Whether the Lower Court sitting on appeal was right when considering the provision of Section 12(a) of the Area Court Law of Adamawa State it held that the trial Upper Area Court had the jurisdiction to determine the Suit before it having regard to the status of the 2nd Appellant, a non-natural person under the law?
  2. Whether the lower Court sitting on appeal was right when it held that the subsequent proceedings of the trial Upper Area Court conducted without notice to the Appellants were not in breach of the Appellants’ right to a fair hearing under Section 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria?
  3. Whether the lower Court was right when it dismissed the Appellants’ Issue four submitted before it while holding that the Respondent proved his case before the trial Area Court despite the material contradictions in the evidence of the two witnesses?
  4. DECISION/HELD
  5. In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal by a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal.

RATIOS:

  • CONSTITUTIONAL LAW- BREACH OF RIGHT TO FAIR HEARING: Whether a party who had an opportunity of being heard but did not utilize it can bring an action for breach of fair hearing
  • EVIDENCE- CONTRADICTION IN EVIDENCE: Position of the law as regards contradictions in the evidence
  • JUDGMENT AND ORDER- DELIVERY OF JUDGMENT: Effect of delivering the judgment of the Court after the scheduled date without notice to one of the parties
  • JURISDICTION- JURISDICTION OF AREA COURT: Whether Area Courts can exercise jurisdiction over non-natural persons
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lawpavilion • January 27, 2020


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