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JURISTS QUOTES - pg. 4

Below are notable quotes from Nigerian Jurists (Judges and Justices of the High Courts, Court of Appeal, the and Supreme Court).


  1. Where counsel cites a case that has not been reported, he owes the Court a duty to produce a copy of the Judgment if he wants the Court to rely on such authority. Where copies of the Judgment are not produced, the Court will have nothing to rely upon. - Augie, J.S.C. Oni v. Ekiti State (2019)
  2. According to Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, p. 999, a misdirection is an error made by a Judge in instructing the jury upon the trial of a cause. In a legal system such as ours in which the Judge also performs the function of the jury, a misdirection occurs when the Judge misconceives the issues, whether of facts or of law, or summarises the evidence inadequately or incorrectly. The misdirection may take the form of a positive act or mere non-direction. - Edozie, JSC. Okotie-Eboh v. Ebiowo (2004)
  3. This case is important from many angles. That a lone and solitary civil servant can sue the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Attorney-General of the Federation and win is a healthy sign which shows that in our country the citizen has rights against the State and can successfully press those rights through the Courts. This is democracy in action. The case becomes more significant when we realise that this was under a military government. Ours is a military government with a human, humane and democratic face. Another significant aspect of the case is that the Federal Attorney-General appeared in person. He has always appeared in important cases. I wish the State Attorneys-General will imitate this splendid example. I know of many States where, for years, the Attorneys-General, the Chief Law Officer of the States, have not seen the inside of a law Court. They merely shuttle between the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet Office. That is not good enough for the growth of the law in those States. Immemorial practice demands that in serious cases the Attorney-General should represent the State and make available to the Court the wealth of his experience all in an attempt to attain justice. - Oputa, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  4. I have found it difficult to understand the distinction thereby drawn between observing the rules of natural justice and doing substantial justice. I think, and without apologies for not relying on any decided cases, I can say without fear of contradiction that the rule relating to hearing both sides in a dispute is fundamental to the administration of justice and decision making in all societies irrespective of their level of civilization or sophistication. Almost every indigenous ethnic group has a saying importing the concept. If what is being done has a semblance of justice, it is elementary that the two sides must be heard first before any determination could be made. - Karibe-Whyte, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  5. I can only reiterate the decision of this Court in that case, as in other cases before (See Sofekun etc) that where the indiscipline complained of amounts to crimes under the Criminal or Penal Code, it is the Courts set up under the Constitution that must have jurisdiction. - Nnamani, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  6. I think the reasoning of this Court on fair hearing, is also not only in accord with the law over the ages but agrees with common sense. Anyway, is there a reason the other side should not be heard before he is condemned? Why should he not enjoy the rights conferred upon him by law as regards his employment? Why should he not be protected by the Constitution and have criminal charges against him determined by the Courts or Tribunals set up by the Constitution itself? I think it is admitted in every reasonable culture, even apart from the decisions of this Court, that a Judge should hear both sides before determining the guilt or otherwise of a person. - Eso, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  7. It is not so difficult where the person so accused accepts his involvement in the acts complained of, and no proof of the criminal charges against him would be required. He has, in such a case, been confronted with the accusation and he has admitted it. He could face discipline thereafter. But in the real enactment of life drama, this is never the case. People very seldom, if at all, admit of their involvement in criminal acts. - Eso, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  8. We operate a system which presumes a man innocent until he is proved guilty. Our system arrogates to the Court the burdensome duty of pronouncing this guilt, after proof of such guilt in open Court, where the facts are subjected to the acid test of effective cross-examination. To do otherwise will constitute an unwarranted attack on our system of criminal justice. - Oputa, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  9. It is not so difficult where the person so accused accepts his involvement in the acts complained of, and no proof of the criminal charges against him would be required. He has, in such a case, been confronted with the accusation and he has admitted it. He could face discipline thereafter. But in the real enactment of life drama, this is never the case. People very seldom, if at all, admit of their involvement in criminal acts. - Eso, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  10. We operate a system which presumes a man innocent until he is proved guilty. Our system arrogates to the Court the burdensome duty of pronouncing this guilt, after proof of such guilt in open Court, where the facts are subjected to the acid test of effective cross-examination. To do otherwise will constitute an unwarranted attack on our system of criminal justice. - Oputa, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  11. When the Court is described as the last hope of the common man that implies that it is the duty of the judiciary (a duty which it owes to the course of justice) to ensure that any encroachment on the rights of the individual, any coercive action is justified by law. In the unequal combat between those who possess power and those on whom such power bears, the Court's primary duty is protection from the abuse of power. - Oputa, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  12. Yes, justice has never been a one way traffic. It has never been justice for government functionaries only. Justice has two scales and the case of either party is put in one or other of the scales and weighed. Justice is also depicted as blind. It neither sees nor recognises who is a government functionary and who is not. It is not a respecter of persons or institutions, no matter how highly placed these are. One aspect of our much vaunted equality before the law is that all litigants, be they private persons or government functionaries, approach the seat of justice openly and without any inhibitions or handicap. Each wins solely and wholly by, and because of, the strength of his case; its weight on the scale of justice. - Oputa, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)

  13. The member(s) and administrator(s) of HCB put in energy in order to provide the cases summary they do on this online platform. We desist from charging you a fee, and we have decided to keep this online platform free and accessible for as long as we deem fit. However, in order to keep alive the impetus that makes us provide these free services, kindly make a donation, if you can.
    Bank: Zenith Bank.
    Name: Branham Paul Chima.
    Account No.: 2178756839.

  14. This Court does not show any antipathy towards any submission that its previous decision or decisions were wrong and should be over-ruled. In fact, the Court welcomes any opportunity to review any decisions given per incuriam. It is far better to admit an established mistake or and correct same rather than persevere in error. Justices of the Supreme Court are human-beings capable of erring. It will be short-sighted arrogance not to accept this obvious truth. - Oputa, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  15. This case is important from many angles. That a lone and solitary civil servant can sue the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Attorney-General of the Federation and win is a healthy sign which shows that in our country the citizen has rights against the State and can successfully press those rights through the Courts. This is democracy in action. The case becomes more significant when we realise that this was under a military government. Ours is a military government with a human, humane and democratic face. Another significant aspect of the case is that the Federal Attorney-General appeared in person. He has always appeared in important cases. I wish the State Attorneys-General will imitate this splendid example. I know of many States where, for years, the Attorneys-General, the Chief Law Officer of the States, have not seen the inside of a law Court. They merely shuttle between the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet Office. That is not good enough for the growth of the law in those States. Immemorial practice demands that in serious cases the Attorney-General should represent the State and make available to the Court the wealth of his experience all in an attempt to attain justice. - Oputa, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  16. Now, although generally it is for the legislator to change the law when it desires to do so, this Court can, and ought to, correct obvious slips in drafting. - Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  17. A person so accused is entitled to be confronted with his crimes, be told the nature and content of the case against him, be brought face to face with his accusers and their witnesses, be given the opportunity to test their veracity under the fire of cross-examination, to defend himself personally and with the assistance of a counsel of his choice, and to call such witnesses that he wishes to call to support his case - all these within a reasonable time and before a court or tribunal constituted in such a way as to ensure its fairness and impartiality. Those are the aspects of the rule of natural justice that concern us in this case. The Respondent was fully entitled to each and every ingredient of it. No one can rightly derogate from any part of it. Even God himself felt obliged to hear Adam before condemning him of his heinous transgression. It is no answer in any case in which a person is entitled to a hearing to say that his offence was so obvious that any hearing would have been a mere formality. For, quite often, when the rule of natural justice is observed and a trial is proceeded with, it turns out that the whole affair was a conspiratorial fabrication or at best based on mere suspicion. This is why once a breach of natural justice has been properly raised in any proceeding it is not a relevant consideration to inquire whether the court or tribunal in fact decided rightly. - Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. FCSC v. Laoye (1989)
  18. Rules of court, particularly, provisions apropos Brief writing, were prompted by the philosophical quest for speedy trial and expeditious disposal of matters. - Chima Centus Nweze, JSC. FRN v. DAIRO (2015)
  19. Even then, the concept of abuse of process applies only to proceedings which are bereft of good faith; which are not only frivolous, but also vexatious or oppressive; which, almost always, have an element of malice in them, having been commenced mala fide, to irritate or annoy the opponent. - Chima Centus Nweze, JSC. FRN v. DAIRO (2015)
  20. Simply put, the wheels of justice must be at liberty, just like the chariot of juggernaut, to coast on their course, unbridled by such disingenuous manoeuvres, deliberately, programmed to clog their majestic movement. - Chima Centus Nweze, JSC. FRN v. DAIRO (2015)

  21. Get that your business, idea, or work available to the public. HCB gets sufficient amount of visits daily. Utilise this golden opportunity to make your product(s) available to the public domain by advertising on this website. If you are interested in advertising on this platform, click "place my advert".

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  22. Indeed, the raison d'etre of the evolution of the mini trial or voire dire procedure is to arm the trial court with a procedural mechanism for sifting the chaff of involuntary, and, hence, inadmissible evidence from the wheat of admissible evidence whose cogency and probative value are indubitable. The cases on this point are legion: they are countless. - Chima Centus Nweze, JSC. FRN v. DAIRO (2015)
  23. The law is trite that public documents can be tendered from the bar, particularly where the procedure is not contested as it is with the case at hand. The appellant, having consented to the procedure adopted, cannot now be heard to complain. It is too late in the day. - Clara Ogunbiyi, JSC. Abdullahi v. FRN (2016)
  24. Where an accused person is charged with a non-capital offence and he pleads guilty thereto, the court is at liberty to adopt a summary trial procedure and convict and sentence him based on the evidence presented by the prosecution. The burden on the prosecution in the circumstance is very light. - KEKERE-EKUN. JSC. Abdullahi v. FRN (2016)
  25. The error of the lower court stemmed from the fact that it did not advert to a point which is well-established in a long line of cases that a finding of fact based on demeanour is one of those exclusive prerogatives of a trial court which appellate courts do not make the habit of interfering with. The reason for this is simple: the trial Court saw the witnesses, heard them, and watched their demeanour in the witness-box. It was, thus, in a very peculiar vantage position to believe or disbelieve them. That advantage can never be recaptured by an appellate Court which, accordingly, is thus bound to accept the judgment of the trial Court on matters of credibility, - Chima Centus Nweze, JSC. FRN v. DAIRO (2015)
  26. Courts should, on no account, spend precious judicial time on issues that are academic. They should determine live issues and those are issues that would meet the ends of Justice. - Chima Centus Nweze, JSC. FRN v. DAIRO (2015)
  27. Some salient points need to be noted, and these are that since a notice of appeal is the foundation of an appeal, any defect in it goes to jurisdiction and cannot be excused because it is a criminal appeal. - Peter-Odili, JSC. FRN v. DAIRO (2015)
  28. The law allows a man to consent to the use of a reasonable degree of force on his person in certain circumstances recognised as lawful justification, e.g. in lawful games or sports or for a surgical operation. In all these cases consent will be a bar to an action of trespass. - Katsina-Alu, JSC. OKEKEARU v. TANKO (2002)
  29. Any trespass to the person, however slight, gives a right of action to recover at any rate nominal damages. Even where there has been no physical injury, substantial damage may be awarded for the injury to the man's dignity or for discomfort or inconvenience. Where liberty has been interferred with damages are given to vindicate the plaintiff's rights even though he has not suffered any pecuniary damage. It is also not necessary for the plaintiff to give evidence of damage to establish his cause of action or to claim any specific amount of damage. - OGWUEGBU, J.S.C. OKONKWO v. OGBOGU (1996)
  30. To succeed in an action for false imprisonment, the plaintiff must show that it was the defendant who was actively instrumental in setting the law in motion against him. - OGWUEGBU, J.S.C. OKONKWO v. OGBOGU (1996)
  31. Assuming that the courts below made use of the statement, which was not the case, I fail to see the necessity for its being tendered when the maker has stated on oath what is contained in his statement. Having admitted on oath what he told the police, the admission became part of the plaintiff's case and it is evidence against him. - OGWUEGBU, J.S.C. OKONKWO v. OGBOGU (1996)
  32. The point of law must be raised on a ground of appeal and argued as an issue arising from the ground of appeal. It is not competent to raise and argue a point of law as an issue in an appeal when such issue is not based on a ground of appeal. - OGWUEGBU, J.S.C. Okonkwo v. Ogbogu (1996)

  33. The member(s) and administrator(s) of HCB put in energy in order to provide the cases summary they do on this online platform. We desist from charging you a fee, and we have decided to keep this online platform free and accessible for as long as we deem fit. However, in order to keep alive the impetus that makes us provide these free services, kindly make a donation, if you can.
    Bank: Zenith Bank.
    Name: Branham Paul Chima.
    Account No.: 2178756839.

  34. As a general rule, an appellant will not be allowed to raise on appeal a question which was not raised, tried and considered in the court below unless the question involves substantial points of law, substantive or procedural and it is clear that no further evidence could have been adduced which could affect the decision on them. - OGWUEGBU, J.S.C. OKONKWO v. OGBOGU (1996)
  35. The grant of Certiorari is discretionary and it would only issue to quash judicial acts and not ministerial, administrative or executive acts. The remedy would be available - (a) Where a party was denied fair hearing (b) Where an inferior Court acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. (c) Where there are errors in the record of the inferior Court. (d) Where a conviction or order has been obtained by collusion, or by fraud. - Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Esabunor v. Faweya (2019)
  36. It is long settled that an adult who is conscious and in full control of his mental capacity, and of sound mind has the right to either accept or refuse blood (medical treatment). The hospital has no choice but to respect their patients wishes. All adults have that liberty of choice. This freedom has been exercised in accordance with the rule of law (see Section 45(1)(b) of the Constitution). All adults have the inalienable right to make any choice they may decide to make and to assume the consequences. When it involves a child different considerations apply and this is so because a child is incapable of making decisions for himself and the law is duty bound to protect such a person from abuse of his rights as he may grow up and disregard those religious beliefs. - Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Esabunor v. Faweya (2019)
  37. It is very well settled that the Supreme Court can consider issue which the Court of Appeal failed to consider. That is to say this Court can take up and decide an issue raised before the Court of Appeal but which was not considered by that Court. - Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Esabunor v. Faweya (2019)
  38. It is our norm of adjudication that sentiments, or flimsy and fanciful wrangling are not allowed. If a person comes to Court he must have a cause of action. In the same way when one alleges that his fundamental right to dignity is breached he must solidly put before the Court evidence to prove his allegation of such an infraction from the affidavit before the Court. - Jonah Adah, JCA. Basset v. Akpan (2018)
  39. I believe it is not in all cases counsel for the parties will indulge in prolixity or explosive expose of every issue found in a judgment. Briefs should help the Court to resolve issues in contention with ease and in the spirit of ensuring that substantial justice is done. A good brief should aim highly at addressing issues in a brisk and precise manner with clarity and accuracy as the baseline. - Jonah Adah, JCA. Basset v. Akpan (2018)
  40. Facts have no views. - Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. NNPC v. Famfa (2012)
  41. The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality of any action is the Constitution itself. - Ngwuta, JSC. NNPC v. Famfa (2012)
  42. The courts in the interpretation of Statutes must not encourage the government to violate its own laws. - Oyelola Adekeye, JSC. NNPC v. Famfa (2012)
  43. Bare denials amount to no denial in Law. - Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. NNPC v. Famfa (2012)
  44. In the light of the above provisions, I hold the view that it could have amounted to a great injustice to the child if the Court had stood by and watched the child being denied of basic treatment to save his life on the basis of the religious conviction of his parent. He probably would not be alive today. I agree with my learned brother that in a life threatening situation, such as the 1st Appellant was in as a child, the consideration to save his life by application of blood transfusion greatly outweighs whatever religious beliefs one may hold, especially where the patient is a child. - Inyang-Okoro, JSC. Esabunor v. Faweya (2019)
  45. The decree of specific performance granted in favour of the respondent cannot be faulted in the circumstance of this case. It is settled law that an order of specific performance is an equitable remedy granted to a successful litigant constraining the losing party to carry out the agreement, which it had entered into with the successful litigant. Like all equitable remedies, it is at the discretion of the court but the discretion must be exercised judicially according to settled rules and principles. Although generally, an order of specific performance will not be readily granted where a remedy in damages is adequate, in a case involving sale of land, the law is that damages cannot adequately compensate a party for breach of a contract for the sale of an interest in a particular piece of land or of a particular house in which case the order for specific performance is available at the instance of the vendor or purchaser. - EDOZIE, J.S.C. Gaji v. Paye (2003)

  46. The member(s) and administrator(s) of HCB put in energy in order to provide the cases summary they do on this online platform. We desist from charging you a fee, and we have decided to keep this online platform free and accessible for as long as we deem fit. However, in order to keep alive the impetus that makes us provide these free services, kindly make a donation, if you can.
    Bank: Zenith Bank.
    Name: Branham Paul Chima.
    Account No.: 2178756839.

  47. A trial Judge is both a Judge of law and facts. He gets in contact with the facts for the first time. As a Judge of facts, he evaluates the evidence of the witnesses. But the law does not give him the exclusive power to evaluate the evidence. Since the evidence of witnesses is duly recorded, an appellate Judge has the power to evaluate such evidence, this time around, from the record. If an appellate judge finds from the record that the trial Judge properly evaluated the evidence before him, an appellate Judge has no business to interfere and substitute his own findings and conclusion, just to make the difference and exhibit appellate power. The law does not give such power to an appellate Judge. But where the evaluation of the evidence which led to the finding of a trial Judge is perverse, an appellate Judge is in a good position to reverse such evaluation and therefore the finding that resulted in the evaluation. This is because the evaluation and subsequent finding is not borne out from the evidence of the witness. - Tobi, J.S.C. Gaji v. Paye (2003)
  48. It is new learning to me that evidence procured from crossexamination is inadmissible. Evidence procured from crossexamination is as valid and authentic as evidence procured from examination-in-chief. Both have the potency of relevancy and relevancy is the heart of admission in the law of Evidence. Where evidence is relevant, it is admissible and admitted whether it is procured from examination-in-chief or cross-examination. - Tobi, J.S.C. Gaji v. Paye (2003)



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