Evidence can be led to deny fact

In the absence of a Reply pleading, a plaintiff may adduce evidence to deny fact pleaded in a defence.

Ogundalu v. Macjob [2015] 8 NWLR (Pt. 1460) 96 at 118, paras. B-C, per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC:

“The position of the law is that where the defendant avers to a fact in his statement of defence and the plaintiff fails to file a reply to deny the averment, the plaintiff may lead evidence to deny the averment in the statement of defence.”

Blogger’s Note:

The learned Justice of the Supreme Court relied on B.C.C.I. v. D. Stephens Ind. Ltd. [1992] 3 NWLR (Pt. 232) 772 and Sketch Publishing Co. Ltd. v. Ajagbemokeferi [1989] 1 NWLR (Pt. 100) 678.
At a glance, the above principle of law may be difficult to digest in view of the principle of law which states that failure to file a reply to deny an averment in a statement of defence means that the plaintiff has admitted the averment. See Ansa v. Ntuk [2009] 9 NWLR (Pt. 1147) 557 at 590, paras. C-D. However, with the above principle, it appears all hope is not lost as the plaintiff is allowed to produce evidence at the trial to deny such averment. Nevertheless, it is better and safer to file a reply as provided for in the various rules of court.
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