⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Ogbomoso South Local Government v. Adecentro Nigeria Limited & Ors (2020) – CA
by NSA PaulPipAr
⦿ AREA OF LAW
– Administrative Law
– incompetent appeal.
– process signed by a law firm.
Ogbomoso South Local Government
1. Adecentro Nigeria Limited.
2. Ogbomoso North Local Government.
3. Surulere Local Government.
4. Ogooluwa Local Government.
Court of Appeal
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Haruna Simon Tsammani, J.C.A
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– Akinsumbo S. Akande, Esq.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
⦿ RESOLUTION OF ISSUE(S)
[APPEAL: STRUCK OUT]
THE APPEAL WAS STRUCK OUT FOR BEING SIGNED IN THE NAME OF A LAW FIRM INSTEAD OF A LEGAL PRACTITIONER.
THE COURT OF APPEAL STATED: “Now, before I proceed (if there is need to do so), I would like to point out that, I have carefully perused the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim both filed on the 25/3/91, it would be seen that same were issued out and signed in the name of Bandele A. Aiku & Co.; a Law Firm. Similarly, the Writ of Summons filed on the 22/10/2008 and Statement of Claim also filed on the 22/10/2008 were signed in the name of Bandele A. Aiku & Co; the same Law Firm. The Further Amended Statement of Claim upon which the suit was heard and determined, and filed on the 28/2/96 was also issued and signed in the name of Bandele Aiku & Co. The law is now settled that any originating process, and indeed any other Court process purported to be signed by a Legal Practitioner, must be signed by a Legal Practitioner known to the Nigerian Law. Such a person must be a human being who has been called to bar to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The name of such a person must therefore be on the register (or roll) of Legal Practitioners kept in the Supreme Court Registry. Consequently, any originating process or other Court process signed in the name of a Law Firm will be incompetent and a nullity. Accordingly any proceeding conducted and judgment given pursuant to such null process, will be set aside on appeal.”
ii. Initiating a process in a Court of first instance or an Appeal which lies to an Appeal Court has to be sponsored by a person, natural or artificial. In case the Appeal proceeds from a natural person, it has to be filed and prosecuted by that natural person who has the capacity to see, hear, talk, feel or perceive or, where circumstances demand, by his counsel who has the same qualities/capacity. Where the process or Appeal proceeds from an artificial person such as a corporation or a law firm, that corporation or law firm has to be represented by a natural person such as Director, Manager, Company Secretary (natural Person) etc who should have pursued the matter on its behalf or by mandating a legal practitioner(s) who should pursue the matter/appeal to its logical conclusion. This is because, the corporation, law firm or company lacks these human qualities which will qualify it to pursue the matter/appeal to its logical conclusion. That is why it is improper where a law firm is consulted by an individual for legal services to indicate on the initiating process(es) that such a process is signed by the law firm. The law firm is incapable of signing the process.
iii. It therefore follows that the Writ of Summons and Statements of Claim in this case, which were signed in the name of Bandele A. Aiku & Co., are null and void, and the Trial Court was therefore deprived of the jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter. Those originating processes have been declared to be a nullity, the entire proceedings conducted thereon and the judgments are also null and void. They are accordingly set aside for being a nullity.
Sections 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act.
⦿ SOME PROVISION(S)
⦿ RELEVANT CASE(S)
⦿ CASE(S) RELATED
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
Failure to commence a suit with a valid Writ and/or Statement of Claim goes to the root of the action. – AYODEJI OJO, J.C.A. Ogbomoso v. Adecentro (2020)