On e-mail as a form of communication

Continental Sales Ltd. v. R. Shipping Inc. [2013] 4 NWLR (Pt. 1343) 67 at 85, paras. G-H, per Ogunwumiju, JCA:

“E-mail is a form of communication that is set down in writing. It is not oral. The fact that it is electronic is immaterial. It is not in thin air. It can be downloaded and as real as a hard copy of the letter or mail in your hand”.


On limit to powers of the Supreme Court under section 22 of the Supreme Court Act

Ugba v. Suswam [2013] 4 NWLR (Pt. 1345) 427at 477, paras. B-D, per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC:

“Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act confers wide powers on this court to rehear a matter as if it was the trial court, but where the trial court no longer has jurisdiction to hear a matter this court cannot hide under the provisions of section 22 (supra). The wide powers conferred by section 22 of the Supreme Court Act is to enable this court assume jurisdiction and do what the court below ought to have done but did not do. Where the court below did not do what it supposed to do because it had to do it within a time provided by the Constitution, section 22 of the Supreme Court Act would be inapplicable.”


On whether a returning officer can review or cancel results after declaration of same

Umar v. Labo [2013] 4 NWLR (Pt. 1345) 496 at 531, paras. A-B, per Orji-Abadua, JCA:

“…it is the law that once a returning officer made a declaration of the scores of the parties and returned a candidate based on that declaration, his decision is final and cannot be reviewed even by him, but, by the tribunal or by this court. The [Electoral] Act does not confer on him any other powers, be it power of cancellation”.

On how to challenge decision of Court of Appeal dismissing a preliminary objection to the appeal before it

Kubor v. Dickson [2013] 4 NWLR (Pt. 1345) 534 at 564, paras. C-D, per Onnoghen, JSC:

“…the proper thing to do in law, is not to raise the same preliminary objection before this court but to appeal by way of cross appeal against the … finding/holding by that court as that is the only acceptable way to challenge any decision of a court of law or tribunal.”

Period of limitation cannot be extended by the court except where expressly provided for.

Abubakar v. Nasamu (No.1) [2012] 17 NWLR (Pt. 1330) 407 at 459-460, paras. H-A, per Adekeye, JSC:

“Where the limitation of time is imposed in a Constitution, Statute, Decree or Edict unless they make provision for extension of time, the courts cannot extend the time…”

Blogger’s Note:

A court cannot extend time in the absence of any provision for extension of time. To do otherwise would tantamount to acting outside its jurisdiction as well as usurping the powers of the legislature.

On when defendant not sued in his proper name will not be heard to complain on appeal

Agbule v. W.R. & P. Co. Ltd. [2013] 6 NWLR (Pt. 1350) 318 at 341, paras. B-C, per Ogunbiyi, JSC:

“It goes without saying therefore that a defendant/respondent who did not protest against the name used and in fact filed processes… cannot now be heard to complain at this stage. This is because he is deemed to have waived his right and is therefore estopped from contending the contrary as rightly submitted by the learned appellant’s counsel. The wrong use of the name did not overreach or put the respondent to any form of disdain in the absence of any earlier complaint thereof. The use of the name in my view is, at best, a misnomer and which did not occasion any negative effect. This court under its inherent powers has the jurisdiction to correct such inconsequential error which did not require any formal application to be made.”

Blogger’s Note:

The Supreme Court relied on its earlier decision in the case of Afolabi v. Adekunle (1983) 8 SC 98. 


On whether a notice of appeal signed by law firm can be rectified or amended

Unity Bank Plc v. Denclag Limited [2012] 18 NWLR (Pt. 1332) 293 at 327, paras. B-F, per Peter-Odili, JSC:

“Going by decision in Okafor v. Nweke (supra) [that a firm of legal practitioners cannot legally sign any process in court], learned counsel for the respondents submits that the implication is that there was no appeal [before the court where a notice of appeal is signed by a firm of legal practitioners]. [However], that sweeping assertion and solution cannot be in keeping with the tenets of substantial justice and the age long principle that a litigant should not be made to suffer for the inadvertence or mistake of counsel. This comes into one of those exceptions that could alleviate the hardship that otherwise would have resulted. Therefore, the process was redeemed and consequently valid”.

Blogger’s Note:

In the instant case, what happened was that the notice of appeal in question was signed and issued by “Ibrahim Hamman & Co.” and leave was granted by the Court of Appeal to Chief Akande, SAN to replace the last page of the notice of appeal signed by “Ibrahim Hamman & Co.” with one to be signed by Chief Akande himself. The Supreme Court upheld the practice and same is commended.

On whether Supreme Court can hear an appeal emanating from an invalid judgment

C.P.C. v. Yuguda [2013] 7 NWLR (Pt. 1354) 450 at 462, paras. B-C, per Ariwoola, JSC:

“This court already decided that, where there is no valid judgment of the court below there cannot be an appeal. Once there is no longer time for the court below to exercise jurisdiction on a matter, there cannot be competence in the Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction”.

Blogger’s Note:

Read our comments on the facts of the above case here.

World of recent and rare Nigerian judicial authorities…