Counsel advise

A lawyer has a duty to advise his client against pursuing a useless appeal.


Chief John Oyegun v. Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe [2010] 16 NWLR (Pt. 1220) 568 at 581, paras. D-E, per Ogbuagu, JSC:

“It is now settled that where the chances of an appeal succeeding are extremely remote (as in the instant appeal), it behoves counsel in the case to advise his client of the uselessness of pursuing such an appeal which patently lacks merit. See the case of K. R. Textile Allied Products Ltd. v. Henry Stephens Shipping Co. Ltd. & 2 ors. (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt. 95) 115 CA. It is now about thirteen (13) years since judgment was given in favour of the respondent against the appellant who has not shown any reason whatsoever, why he is unwilling to pay a debt/loan he never denied owing.”

Counsel advise

Blogger’s Note:

What happened in the case was that the Respondent loaned some money to the Appellant (free of interest) but the Appellant failed to repay same. On 23rd October, 1996, the High Court of Imo State, Oguta, delivered a Judgment against the Appellant ordering him to pay the money to the Respondent. The Appellant still refused to obey the Judgment of Court. He however decided to appeal the Judgment of the trial Court over 5 years after the Judgment was delivered. His application for extension of time within which to appeal the said Judgment was refused by the Court of Appeal. He further appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that his fundamental right to fair hearing has been breached. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the argument was ‘completely misconceived in the extreme.’ See page 581 of the report. The apex Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal which held that the Appellant failed to satisfactorily explain the reason for the delay. The Court further held that it would not interfere with the exercise of discretion by the Court of Appeal, noting that ‘in matters of discretion, no one case can be an authority for another and the court, cannot be bound by a previous decision to exercise of discretion in a particular way.’

The Supreme Court thereafter criticised the Appellant’s Counsel for filing the otherwise frivolous appeal. See quotation above.

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