Position of the Law on the Execution of a Judgment Delivered in another State321 views
CASE TITLE: DAURA v. YAHAYA & ORS (2023) LPELR-59952(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 22ND MARCH, 2023
PRACTICE AREA: CIVIL PROCEDURE
LEAD JUDGMENT: MOHAMMED BABA IDRIS, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
This appeal borders on contempt of Court.
This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Katsina State coram Honourable Justice Ibrahim M. Bako delivered on the 22nd day of February, 2022,
By a Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Order 41 Rules 1 and 2 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules Cap 60, Laws of Katsina State 1991, and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, the 2nd Respondent as an applicant at the trial Court, sought for the following reliefs:
1. An Order committing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents to prison for contempt of this Court’s Order/Proceedings until they purge themselves of the contempt.
2. An Order directing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents to return all the fertilizer they evacuated at the 1st Respondents stores at Funtua between the 3rd and 4th June, 2016.
3. And for such other orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
The complaint of the 2nd Respondent was that, on the 15th day of April, 2016, the judgment of Zamfara State High Court in Suit No: ZMS/GS/11/2004 was registered at the trial Court and a writ of attachment and sales of movable properties of the 1st Respondent was issued and the machinery of executing the said judgment was set in motion, which prayed for a stay of execution and injunction which was argued and adjourned for the ruling.
The 2nd Respondent stated that while they were waiting for the ruling to be delivered, the 1st Respondent instructed the Appellant, the 3rd Respondent and the 4th Respondent to remove/evacuate all stock of its fertilizer at its stores at Unguwar Shanu, Funtua. Respondents engaged over twenty trucks to remove the fertilizer to an unknown destination. The 2nd Respondent stated that the act of the other Respondents is contemptuous of the authority of the trial Court and liable to be redressed by an action for committal.
The other Respondents at the trial Court did not file a counter-affidavit to the application, as the Counsel representing them informed the Court that they have filed an application for a stay of proceedings and the matter was adjourned to the 22nd day of February, 2017, for the ruling. While giving its ruling, the trial Court granted the reliefs sought by the 2nd Respondent in his application.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of the trial Court, the Appellant filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal.
The Court determined the appeal based on the following issues for determination:
1. Was there an attachment of any property of Olam Nigeria Ltd as required by law for the purpose of realizing the judgment in Suit No ZMS/GS/11/2004 which attachment the Appellant could be said to have interfered with in a way amounting to contempt of Court?
2. Given that the acts alleged against the Appellant to constitute contempt of Court did not take place in the face of the Court, was the learned Judge right in assuming jurisdiction to hear the alleged contempt instead of declining jurisdiction so as to enable a proper criminal trial of the Appellant before another judicial officer?
3. Was there evidence sufficient to ground the conviction of the Appellant for contempt?
4. What is the effect of the absence of the Appellant during the committal proceedings on the said proceedings?
In the final analysis, the Court allowed the appeal.
- COURT – CONTEMPT OF COURT: Duty of a party initiating contempt proceedings to prove that the contemnor failed to obey a Court order; effect of failure
- EVIDENCE – AFFIDAVIT EVIDENCE: Whether documents attached to an affidavit must be certified
- JUDGMENT AND ORDER – EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT: Meaning of execution of judgment; Laws governing the execution of judgment
- JUDGMENT AND ORDER – EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT: Procedure for execution of judgment delivered in one State to be executed in Court of coordinate jurisdiction in another State
- PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – SPECULATION: Whether Court can act on speculations