⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Mrs Olayinka Adewunmi & Ors. v. Mr Amos Oketade (2010) – SC
- Notice of appeal;
- Legal Practitioners name;
- Legal Practitioners firm;
Mrs Olayinka Adewunmi & Ors.
Mr Amos Oketade
(2010) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1195) 63 S.C
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Niki Tobi, JSC
⦿ LAWYERS WHO ADVOCATED
- FOR THE APPELLANT
- Mr. Olujimi Akeredolu;
- FOR THE RESPONDENT
- Mr. Idowu Alabi;
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
It involves landlord and tenant. It is tenancy of a small apartment situate at No. 2 Irawo Lane, Agbowo, Ibadan. The learned Chief Magistrate, in his judgment, directed the appellant to give up possession to the plaintiffs/respondent within three weeks. The judgment was delivered on 31st May, 1994, some fourteen years ago. The appellant filled an application in the Magistrate’s Court for stay of execution, which was refused. A similar application to the High Court was granted. Dissatisfied with the Ruling of the High Court, the respondent filed an appeal in the court of Appeal. On 22nd January, 2001, the Court of Appeal ordered the appellant to pack out of the premises, the subject matter of the appeal and the application before that court. The appellant filed an application against the order of the Court of Appeal and a motion for stay of execution. On 24th January, 2001, the Court of Appeal adjourned all the pending applications to 8th March, 2001. The Court took all the pending applications including the substantive application for stay of execution filed by the Appellant. The court of Appeal granted the prayers of the respondents. This appeal is on that Ruling.
A. PRELIMINARY OBJECTION BY RESPONDENT
i. Learned Counsel called the attention of the court to OLUJIMI AND AKEREDOLU used in the “Notice of Appeal and Brief of Argument” and submitted that it being a name of a firm and not a name of a legal practitioner, offends sections 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act.
B. MAIN ISSUES
i. Whether the lower court had jurisdiction to make interlocutory order which are (sic) similar and akin to final order and determination of the substantive appeal yet to be heard before them.
ii. Whether an award of cost can be made without hearing the parties on issues of cost.
⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
i. PRELIMINARY OBJECTION WAS RESOLVED IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
i. There is a big legal difference between the name of a firm of legal practitioner and the name of a legal practitioner simplicter. While the name of OLUJIMI AND AKEREDOLU is a firm with some corporate existence, the name of a Legal Practitioner is a name qua Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which has no corporate connotation. As both carry different legal entities in our jurisprudence of parties, one cannot be a substitute for the other because they are not synonyms. It is clear that OLUJIMI AND AKEREDOLU is not a name of a legal Practitioner in Nigeria. I say this because there is no such name in the roll of legal Practitioner and that violates 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioner Act. By section 2(1) of the Act, the only person in the profession wearing his professional name to practice law in Nigeria is a Legal Practitioner in section 24 of the Act does not include OLUJIMI AND AKEREDOLU. This, to me, is not a mere technicality that can be brushed aside. It is fundamental to the judicial process as it directly affects the legal processes that brought the case on appeal. I am in entire agreement with counsel for the respondent that as the processes which brought the appeals are incompetent, the appeal itself is incompetent.
Due to the preliminary objection, the appeal was declared incompetent, and was dismissed. However, see the “substantive” section under “Notable Dicta” below for the court’s pronouncements on the main issues.
The Supreme Court went ahead to state, “In sum, I order that the appellant must vacate possession within three months from the date of this judgment. I order consequentially that he pays all the rents due up to the date of his vacating possession to the respondent. I award N50,000.00 cost in favour of the respondents.”
Sections 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act;
⦿ SOME PROVISIONS
⦿ RELEVANT CASES
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
There is a big legal difference between the name of a firm of legal practitioner and the name of a legal practitioner simplicter. While the name of OLUJIMI AND AKEREDOLU is a firm with some corporate existence, the name of a Legal Practitioner is a name qua Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which has no corporate connotation. As both carry different legal entities in our jurisprudence of parties, one cannot be a substitute for the other because they are not synonyms. – Niki Tobi, JSC. Adewunmi v. Oketade (2010)
A landlord has an unfettered legal right to terminate a tenancy upon giving adequate notice. After all, the property is his and he can at any time retrieve it subject to the conditions in the agreement. Once he abides by the provisions of the tenancy agreement, the tenant has no choice than to vacate possession. The position of the law is very clear. It is almost like the day and the night changing places. What usually brings problems between a landlord and a tenant is the giving of adequate notice. What constitutes adequate notice is spelt out in the lease or tenancy agreement. In other words, the landlord must give the tenant the quit notice as provided in the tenancy agreement. If the tenant refuses to quit, a court of law can, on an action by the landlord, force him out of the premises. That, I think, was what the Magistrates Court did but the appellant will not take the decision of the Magistrate for an answer and that has taken this matter inordinately for fourteen years plus. – Niki Tobi, JSC. Adewunmi v. Oketade (2010)
It is trite that appeal does not lie as of right against an award of costs by a court. – Fabiyi, JSC. Adewunmi v. Oketade (2010)