hbriefs-logo

Owhor v. Obodo (2020) – CA

Start

➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Owhor v. Obodo (2020) – CA

by PipAr Chima

➥ COURT:
Court of Appeal – CA/PH/448/2017

➥ JUDGEMENT DELIVERED ON:
Wednesday, June 03, 2020

➥ AREA(S) OF LAW
Vacant possession;
Service of process;
Rent.

➥ NOTABLE DICTA
⦿ NO LAW MAKES PARTY APPEARANCE IN COURT MANDATORY
Instructively, there is no law making it compulsory for a party in a civil action to appear physically in Court. All that is necessarily required, in the best interest of good administration of justice, is that the day to day judicial schedule (Cause List) of the Court is not stultified or frustrated by non-appearance of a party before it. – I.M.M. Saulawa JCA.

⦿ SERVICE OF ORIGINATING PROCESS ON OTHER PARTY IS JURISDICTIONAL
Undoubtedly, the essence of service of originating processes upon a party, a defendant or Respondent as the case may be in administration of justice, cannot be over emphasized. Indeed, the service of origination process on a party is not merely important but fundamental. Indeed, it goes very deeply to the root of the Jurisdictional competence of the Court to adjudicate upon the matter. Thus, failure to serve the adverse party with the necessary originating process invariably renders the proceedings by the Court and any orders predicated thereupon, nullities. – I.M.M. Saulawa JCA.

Available:  Faro Bottling Company Limited v. Lawrence Osuji (2001)

⦿ COURT WILL NOT PUNISH PARTY FOR MISTAKE OF COUNSEL
I think it should be regarded as settled by a long line of decided cases that the Courts do not normally punish a litigant for mistakes of his counsel. But in my opinion, the Court will not regard this as a universal talisman, the waiver of which will act as a panacea in all cases, the Courts must be satisfied not only that the allegation of the … of Counsel is true and genuine but also it is availing having regard to the circumstances of the particular case. – I.M.M. Saulawa JCA.

➥ PARTIES
David Owhor

v.

Chief Emmanuel Udome Obodo

➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
I.M.M. Saulawa, J.C.A.

➥ APPEARANCES
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT
Sotari F. Tamunowari Esq.

⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT
O. Nwodoh, Esq.

➥ CASE HISTORY
The Respondent sought for his house the vacant possession of the Appellant. The magistrate court & the High Court (sitting as appellate) granted judgement in Respondent’s favour.

➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION
[APPEAL: DISMISSED]

I. Whether there is legally established credible evidence in proof that the Appellant was indeed served with the originating processes as required by law.

Available:  Federal Republic of Nigeria v. James Onanefe Ibori & Ors. (CA/B/61C/2010(2), 15 May 2014)

RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
I.A. Appellant cannot wake up from his slumber to re-open a case, two years after a Court has entered a Judgment.
Both the Court below and the trial Magistrate’s Court were absolutely correct in relying on the Affidavit of Service (Form C22 Affidavit of Service – page 12 of the Record) in coming to the conclusion, that the Appellant was actually served with the originating processes as required by the law, but chose to absent himself from the trial Court, for reason best known thereto.
.
.
II. Whether the determination of the contractual relationship between the appellant and the Respondent is one fact alone, and strictly binding and enforceable.

RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
II.A. The Appellant having failed to renew the tenancy agreement by promptly paying the rent in accordance with clause (d) of paragraph 3 of Exhibit, he had by implication thereof become a tenant at will, thereby rendering entitled to only 7 days’ notice to quit the property by virtue of the provision of Section 6 of the Recovery of Premises Law (Supra).
.
.
III. Was the lower Court legally right based on the facts before it in holding that the Appellant was not diligent in appealing the judgment of the trial Court.

Available:  Oko v. A.G. Ebonyi State (2021) - SC

RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
III.A. Considering the overwhelming circumstances, I cannot agree more with the foregoing findings of the Court below, to the effect that the Appellant had not been diligent in pursuing the Appeal which was filed in the Court below two years after judgment had been entered against him by the trial Magistrate’s Court. In the instant case in my considered view, the Appellant’s inordinate delay in filing the appeal at the Court below could not in any way be attributable to mistake, negligence or incompetence of the counsel thereof. However, even if that is so, it ought to be reiterated that the usual defence or excuse of “mistake or in advertence” of counsel must not be regarded as a magic wand, which once waived a Court of law would overlook such shortcoming. Indeed, the Courts as veritable hallowed temples of Justice, do not condone flimsy and inexcusable inordinate delay or lack of diligence on the part of litigants or the counsel thereof.

➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS

➥ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
Sections 5 and 6 of the Recovery of Premises Law.

➥ REFERENCED (CASE)

➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)

End

SHARE ON

Email
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Telegram
WhatsApp

Form has been successfully submitted.

Thanks.

This feature is in work, and currently unavailable.