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Kotoye V. Central Bank of Nigeria & Ors. (SC.118/1988, 3rd day of February 1989)

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➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Kotoye V. Central Bank of Nigeria & Ors. (SC.118/1988, 3rd day of February 1989)

by Branham Chima (LL.B.)

➥ ISSUES RAISED
Interlocutory injunctions;
Ex parte motions;

➥ CASE FACT/HISTORY
Certain allegations of mismanagement by the third Defendant, Societe General Bank (Nigeria) Limited, came to the notice of the Central Bank of Nigeria. After investigating the allegations and taking instructions from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank issued to the Chairman of the Bank, Mr. N. A. B. Kotoye, a written directive.

On the 22nd of April, 1987, the appellant issued a writ claiming against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents the following reliefs that is to say, inter alia: ‘(i) A Declaration that the directive given by the 1st Defendant in its letter DG/COMBANKS Nol.1/359 of the 14th of April, 1987 to the effect that the shareholding of the plaintiff in the 3rd Defendant should revert to the reduced figure of N2,937,450 shares held by him in 1982 is ultra vires the 1st Defendant and is null and void. (ii) A Declaration that the directive given by the 1st Defendant in the said letter that all shares acquired by the plaintiff in the 3rd Defendant since 1982 be divested to other Nigerians is ultra vires the 1st Defendant.’

On the same day, the appellant filed a motion ex parte under Order 20 of the Federal High Court Rules, 1976, for an order: “(i) Restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants their servants and/or agents from in any way obstructing or frustrating the holding of the Annual General Meeting of the 3rd Defendant Bank until the final determination of this suit; (ii) For an order of injunction that until the determination of this suit the Defendants be restrained from appointing or recognizing the appointment of any person or persons as Directors of the 3rd Defendant company other than such of them as are or may be duly appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association of the 3rd Defendant Bank.”

No motion on notice was filed to the same effect. The ex parte motion was heard the same day by Anyaegbunam, C.J. He then proceeded to make the following orders: (i) That 1st and 2nd Defendants/Respondents, their servants and agents should not in any way obstruct or frustrate the holding of the Annual General Meeting of 3rd Defendant/Respondent Bank whenever it is fixed. (ii) That when the said Annual General Meeting is held the ordinary affairs of the 3rd Defendant/Respondent Bank should be discussed. (iii) That no new Directors will be appointed, the old Directors should continue to function until the determination of this Application or the Court otherwise orders. (iv) I hereby also order that 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants/Respondents be served with all the motion papers. This will enable them file whatever papers they wish to. Adjourned Application to Monday, 27/4/87 at 1 p.m.” By a Notice of Appeal dated the 5th day of May, 1987, the 1st Respondent herein appealed. After hearing the appeal, the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division allowed the appeal. In the lead judgment of Awogu, J.C.A., to which Akpata and Kalgo, J.J.C.A., concurred, he held inter alia, as follows: (i) That what the learned C. J. made was in the nature of an immediate absolute order, not an interim order; and not one appropriate under the rule it was purported to have been brought; (ii) That the order made by the learned C. J. amounted to a final order, without hearing the Respondents; (iii) That the trial court granted to the applicant more than what he asked for; (iv) That although an affidavit of urgency was filed no case of urgency was made out to warrant an ex parte hearing; and that although he was allowing the appeal on other grounds, he would additionally have done so for failure of the applicant to give an undertaking as to damages. The applicant, hereinafter called the appellant, has appealed to this court.

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

↪️ I. Is, in view of the provisions of section 33 of the Constitution of 1979, can and should a court proceed to deliberate on the main issues and come to conclusions on them on an ex parte hearing, that is without hearing all the parties to be affected by the order?

RESOLUTION: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
[THE TRIAL COURT OUGHT NOT TO HAVE HEAR THE QUESTIONS THAT BOTHER ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE CASE DURING THE EX PARTE HEARING
‘In the instant case, there is force in the arguments of Chief Williams and Professor Kasunmu that the first two orders made were in the nature of absolute orders, granting to the appellant his main prayers in the ex parte application set out above without the other side being given a hearing. In point of fact, he also decided some of the issues raised in the letter of directive of the Central Bank being contested in the writ and the statement of claim. Having granted them, there was nothing left to be heard on the 27th of April. It is immaterial that an order was made about service of papers on them. The Respondents, without being heard in opposition, had been restrained from preventing the holding of the general meeting of the 3rd Respondents scheduled to take place on the 25th of April. I do not see how it could ever be doubted that they were entitled to be heard on this point before the order was made. I did not, in my opinion consider the type of analysis which Chief Ajayi went into in this case relevant. He tried to show that the main question was the appointment of directors. Nor need I consider whether or not the order as made was more benficial to the appellant or the Respondents. In my judgment the over-riding question is whether in the orders relating to restraining the holding of the general meeting as well as touching on the appointment of directors, the Respondents were, in the court of trial, entitled to be heard before the application was heard and the order made. Once I come to the conclusion that they should as I feel bound to do, it is no longer necessary to go into an analysis of the order made to find out whether or not it is beneficial to the applicant or whether it should have been granted if a hearing was had. For the rule of fair hearing is not a technical doctrine. It is one of substance. The question is not whether injustice had been done because of lack of hearing. It is whether a party entitled to be heard before deciding had in fact been given the opportunity of a hearing. Once an appellate court comes to the conclusion that the party was entitled to be heard before a decision was reached but was not given the opportunity of a hearing, the order or judgment thus entered is bound to be set aside. This is because such an order is against the rule of fair hearing, one of the twin pillars of natural justice which is expressed by the maxim: audi alteram partem. It is note-worthy that Chief Ajayi conceded in his brief that “the effect of the two interim orders made by Anyaegbunam, C.J. was not only to prevent the 1st and 2nd Defendants from preventing the holding of the Annual General Meeting but also to place a restriction on the plaintiff from proceeding to appoint new Directors. . . .”The Court of Appeal was therefore right to hold that the order for service of unspecified papers on the respondents which the learned Chief Judge made after making the orders ex parte was tantamount to shutting the stable after the animal had bolted away. In such matters the court proceeds on general principles. Blackburn, J., expressed this general principle over one century ago in these words in the case of R. v. Rand (1866) L.R. 1 Q.B. 834, at p. 836: “It is not only of some importance, but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” See also Lord Hewart, C.J., in R. v. Sussex J.J., ex parte McCarthy (1924) 1 K.B. 256, at p. 259. Having heard the application ex parte and made the far reaching orders which I have set out above, I do not see what hearing was left to be done on the 27th of April. The decision in WEA Records Ltd. v. Visions Channel 4 Ltd. (1983) 1 W.L.R. 721 relied upon by Chief Ajayi is inapplicable in so far as it decided that orders for interlocutory injunctions can be made ex parte and served on the Respondent with his liberty to apply to set it aside.’

Available:  THE M. V. "CAROLINE MAERSK" SISTER VESSEL TO M.V. "CHRISTIAN MAERSK" & ORS v. NOKOY INVESTMENT LIMITED (2002)

THERE WAS NO SITUATION OF REAL URGENCY THAT NECESSITATED THE GRANT OF THE EX PARTE BY THE TRIAL JUDGE
‘With respect, I believe that the learned Senior Advocate for the appellant has missed the point. To start with, as I have stated, the C.J. decided the application. Also the basis of granting any ex parte order of injunction, particularly in view of section 33(1) of the Constitution of 1979, is the existence of special circumstances, invariably, all-pervading real urgency, which requires that the order must be made, otherwise an irretrievable harm or injury would be occasioned to the prejudice of the applicant. Put in another way, if the matter is not shown to be urgent, there is no reason why ex parte order should be made at all: the existence of real urgency, and not self-imposed urgency, is a sine qua non for a proper ex parte order of injunction. On the contents of the affidavit of urgency set out above, I agree with the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal that no case of real urgency or any other exceptional circumstances was made out. What was shown was self-imposed urgency caused by the applicant’s culpable delay in bringing the application. This was not enough.’

APPELLANT WAS TARDY IN BRINGING HIS EX PARTE APPLICATION
‘He then mentioned in paragraph 5 that the 1st Respondent had in the said letter of 14th April directed that the Nigerian Directors of the 3rd Respondent do meet urgently to select its representatives on the Board of the Bank and that the list be forwarded to the 1st Respondent within 10 days of the letter. The letter, he said, had threatened appropriate measures if the list of Directors was not sent within 10 days. From these facts, it can be seen that the appellant did nothing since 16th April, 1987 when he received the said letter from the 1st Respondent. It was not until 22nd April, three days to the meeting which was scheduled on the 25th April, and two days to the deadline given him by the 1st Respondent, that he brought his application for injunctive relief. Surely if there was any emergency, it was one induced by his lethargy and tardiness. Besides, there were three clear days to the scheduled Annual General Meeting and two days before the 1st Respondent’s deadline. Why was it impossible for the appellant to serve his motion papers on the Respondents particularly as all of them are resident in Lagos? I am also of the view that the Court of Appeal was right in its conclusion that there was no real urgency that would have justified granting the interlocutory injunctive relief ex parte as the learned Chief Judge did.’]
.
.
.
✓ DECISION:
‘For all the reasons I have given above, the appeal fails and is hereby dismissed. The cross-appeal succeeds and is allowed. I hereby strike out the ex parte application.’

➥ FURTHER DICTA:
⦿ NATURE OF EX PARTE INJUNCTIONS
I think it is correct to say that “ex parte” in relation to injunctions is properly used in contradistinction to “on notice” – and both expressions, which are mutually exclusive, more strictly rather refer to the manner in which the application is brought and the order procured. An applicant for injunction may bring the application ex parte, that is without notice to the other side or with notice to the other side, as appropriate. By their very nature injunctions granted on ex parte applications can only be properly interim in nature. They are made, without notice to the other side, to keep matters in status quo to a named date, usually not more than a few days, or until the Respondent can be put on notice. The rationale of an order made on such an application is that delay to be caused by proceeding in the ordinary way by putting the other side on notice would or might cause such an irretrievable or serious mischief. Such injunctions are for cases of real urgency. The emphasis is on “real.” What is contemplated by the law is urgency between the happening of the event which is sought to be restrained by injunction and the date the application could be heard if taken after due notice to the other side. So, if an incident which forms the basis of an application occurred long enough for the applicant to have given due notice of the application to the other side if he had acted promptly but he delays so much in bringing the application until there is not enough time to put the other side on notice, then there is a case of self-induced urgency, and not one of real urgency within the meaning of the law. This self-induced urgency will not warrant the granting of the application ex parte. — Nnaemeka-Agu JSC.

⦿ INTERIM INJUNCTION VERSUS INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION
Interim injunctions, on the other hand, while often showing the trammels of orders of injunction made ex parte are not necessarily coterminous with them. Their main feature which distinguishes them from interlocutory injunctions is that they are made to preserve the status quo until a named date or until further order or until an application on notice can be heard. They are also for cases of real urgency. But, unlike ex parte orders for injunction, they can be made during the hearing of a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction when, because of the length of the hearing, it is shown that an irretrievable mischief or damage may be occasioned before the completion of hearing. Also it can be made to avoid such an irretrievable mischief or damage when due to the pressure of business of the court or through no fault of the applicant it is impossible to hear and determine the application on notice for interlocutory injunction. See Beese v. Woodhouse (1970) 1 W.L.R. 586, at p. 590. It must, however, be emphasized that what the court does in such a case is not to hear the application for interlocutory injunction ex parte, behind the back of the respondent, but to make an order which has the effect of preserving the status quo until the application for interlocutory injunction can be heard and determined. — Nnaemeka-Agu JSC.

⦿ WHERE NO CROSS-APPEAL OR A RESPONDENT’S NOTICE, BRIEF WILL NE STRUCK OUT
Chief Williams objected to the whole brief on the ground that, as counsel for a Respondent, not having cross-appealed or filed a Respondent’s notice, he was not competent to argue as he did. We came to the conclusion that the objection was well-taken. This court has said a number of times that what is open to a Respondent in the position of the 3rd Respondent is either to cross-appeal or file a Respondent’s notice as the case may be: See Oguma Associated Companies (Nig.) Ltd. v. I.B.W.A. Ltd. (1988) 1 N.W.L.R. (Pt.73) 658, at p. 681; Eliochin (Nig.) Ltd. v. Mbadiwe (1986) 1 N.W.L.R. (part 14) 47. So, the brief was struck out. We did not hear counsel in oral argument. — Nnaemeka-Agu JSC.

⦿ BASIC CRITERIA OF FAIR HEARING
There are certain basic criteria and attributes of fair hearing, some of which are relevant in this case. These include: (i) That the court shall hear both sides not only in the case but also in all material issues in the case before reaching a decision which may be prejudicial to any party in the case. See Sheldon v. Bromfield Justices (1964) 2 Q.B. 573, at p. 578. (ii) That the court or tribunal shall give equal treatment, opportunity, and consideration to all concerned. See on this: Adigun v. Attorney General, Oyo State and Ors. (1987) 1 N. W. L. R. (Pt.53) 678. ( iii)that the proceedings shall be held in public and all concerned shall have access to and be informed of such a place of public hearing and (iv)That the proceedings shall be held in public and all concerned shall have access to and be informed of such a place of public hearing and that having regard to all the circumstances, in every material decision in the case, justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to have been done: R. v. Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy (1924) 1 K.B. 256, at p.259; Deduwa and Ors. v. Okorodudu (1976) 10 SC. 329. (back to top?) Thus, fair hearing in the context of section 33(1) of the Constitution of 1979 encompasses the plenitude of natural justice in the narrow technical sense of the twin pillars of justice – audi alteram partem and nemo judex in causa sua as well as in the broad sense of what is not only right and fair to all concerned but also seems to be so. — Nnaemeka-Agu JSC.

Available:  Fortune International Bank Plc v. Pegasus Trading Office (GMBH) (2004)

⦿ RIGHT TO SET ASIDE IS NOT EQUAL WITH RIGHT TO BE HEARD BEFORE THE ORDER IS MADE
Moreover, in my judgment to give a person the right to apply to set aside an order after it has been made can never be an equal right with hearing him before the order is made. For, in the former case, the onus is on him to satisfy the court that the order, already made, ought to be discharged or varied. And he has the onerous burden of displacing the presumption that a judgment or order of court is correct. In the latter case, he has at least as much an opportunity as his adversary of showing why the order should not be made. He can also bring before the court materials which could support his stand. If, after the court has considered all the materials brought, and argument advanced, by both sides the odds are evenly weighted or in favour of the Respondent, the order will not be made: for the onus at that stage is on the applicant to satisfy the court. These are the reasons why it is recognized by high authority that, ex post facto hearing is inferior to hearing before decision. — Nnaemeka-Agu JSC.

⦿ FILING INTERIM APPLICATION AND INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION
For it is settled that a person who seeks an interim order ex parte while also applying for an interlocutory injunction files two motions, simultaneously, one ex parte asking for the interim order, and the other on notice applying for an interlocutory injunction. The court before whom the applications come takes the ex parte motion and, if satisfied that it has merit ex facie, grants it making the order to the date when the motion on notice shall be heard. Parties and their counsel ought not to be encouraged to file and argue a sole application ex parte when asking for orders which can only be properly made on notice. — Nnaemeka-Agu JSC.

⦿ NO EX PARTE ORDERS SHOULD BE GRANTED UNLESS ON THE UNDERTAKING FOR DAMAGES
It is my view that a necessary corollary to the fact that an undertaking as to damages is the price that an applicant has to pay for the order of interlocutory injunction is that failure to give the undertaking leaves the order, with a quid pro quo, and, so should be a ground for discharging the order. This ought to be more so in respect of ex parte orders in which the order is being made without the other side being head. Indeed the need for it to be so is stronger in Nigeria where no Registrar has got the power to insert the order for the undertaking to be given while drawing up the order. Above all, this Court ought to take notice of the numerous cases of abuse of ex-parte injunctions that have come up in recent times. The operation of a bank has been halted on an ex-parte order of injunction granted to a person who had been removed as a director of the bank. Installation ceremonies of chiefs have been halted in the same way even though the dispute had been dragging on for years. The convocation ceremony of a university has been halted on an ex parte application by two students who failed their examinations. As the courts cannot prevent such applicants from exercising their constitutional rights by stopping such applications, they can, and ought, at least see that justice is done to the victims of such ex-parte applications and orders by ensuring that the applicant fully undertakes to pay any damages that may be occasioned by any such order which may turn out to be frivolous or improper in the end. It is, therefore, my view that, save in recognized exceptions, no order for an interlocutory or interim injunction should be made, ex parte or on notice, save upon the condition that the applicant gives a satisfactory undertaking as to damages … In my judgment, therefore where a court of first instance fails to extract an undertaking as to damages where it should, an appellate court ought normally to discharge the order of injunction on appeal. — Nnaemeka-Agu JSC.

⦿ IN RESPECT OF EX PARTE INJUNCTIONS, PARTY HAS TO SHOW THAT HE WAS NOT GUILTY OF TARDINESS
Usually in cases of ex-parte applications for injunction on the ground of real urgency in the court would, as indicated earlier, examine the fact to ensure that the party applying has not been guilty of delay and furthermore that there is an impossibility of bringing an application on notice and serving the other party. In Bates v. Lord Halisham (1972) 3 ALL E.R. 1019. Megarry J. (as he then was) held that the applicants could not meet the above standards and so refused the application. At page 1025 he made remarks which are quite relevant to the circumstances of the instant suit. He said, “There are, of course, occasions when circumstances make an earlier application impossible. But here, the dates speak for themselves. The announcement by the Lord Chancellor of the proposal to abolish scale fees altogether was made over two and half months ago. The association’s first circular was sent out at about the same time. The draft order was published nearly a month ago. Well over three weeks ago it was in the hands of Solicitors generally. Not until a week ago did the association send its submissions to the Committee, following them up with individual letters some five days ago. For nearly three weeks the association has known that the Committee was to meet today. On these facts counsel for the plaintiff did his best, but the material was intractable. An injunction is a serious matter and must be treated seriously. If there is a plaintiff who has known about a proposal for ten weeks in general terms and for nearly three weeks in detail, and he wants an injunction to prevent effect being given to it at a meeting of which he has known for well over a fortnight, he must have a most cogent explanation if he is to obtain his injunction on an ex-parte application made two and half hours before the meeting is due to begin. It is no answer to say, as counsel for the plaintiff sought to say, that the grant of an injunction will do the Defendants no harm, for apart from other considerations, an inference from an insufficiently explained tardiness in the application is that the urgency and the gravity of the plaintiffs case are less than compelling. Ex-parte injunctions are for cases of real urgency, where there has been a true impossibility of giving notice of motion.” — Nnamani, JSC.

Available:  Alhaji Amuda I. Adebanjo v Alhaji L. D. Olowosoga (1988) - SC

⦿ AN UNDERTAKING TO PAY DAMAGES MUST BE PLEDGED BEFORE AN EX PARTE INJUNCTION IS GRANTED
Finally, the question of undertaking to pay damages which is the third issue for determination has been exhaustively dealt with by my learned brother in the lead judgment. I merely wish to associate myself with the view that, having regard to the manner ex-parte injunctions have lately been used in this country, an undertaking to pay damages must be extracted before the grant of such injunctions.  It is settled that an undertaking to pay damages is the price which the person asking for an interlocutory injunction has to pay, and it ought to be required on every interlocutory order. See Chappel v. Davidson 44 E.R. 289; Graham v. Campbell (1877-1878) 7 Ch. D. 490 C.A., Smith v. Day (1882) 21 Ch. D. 421 C.A.; Baxter v. Claydon (1952) W.N., 376, Tucker v. New Brunswick Trading Co. of London (1890) 44 Ch. D. 249. The undertaking to pay damages applies whether the plaintiff has not been guilty of misrepresentation, suppression or other default in obtaining the injunction. Griffith v. Blake (1884) 27 Ch. D. 474 C.A. dissenting from contrary dictum of Jessel M.R. in Smith v. Day (supra). The undertaking is equally enforceable whether the mistake in granting the injunction was on a point of law or fact. Hunt v. Hunt (1884) 54 LJ. Ch. 289 (again contrary to the dictum of Jessel M.R. in Smith v. Day.) — Nnamani, JSC.

⦿ INTERIM ORDER VERSUS INTERLOCUTORY ORDER
It is useful to examine the meaning and scope of the words “interlocutory” and “interim” which have been used very freely and often times regarded as interchangeable in applications for injunctions. See Kufeji v. Kogbe (1961) 1 All N.L.R. 113; Iroegbu v. Ugbo (1970-71) 1 E.C.S.L.R. 162. An interlocutory application is an application which can be made in the course of a proceeding, and at any stage of a cause or matter, for the purpose of keeping the parties in status quo till the determination of the action – See Obeya Memorial Specialist Hospital v. Attorney-General for the Federation (1987) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.60) 325. Ojukwu v. Governor of Lagos State (1986) 3 N. W. L. R. (Pt.26) 39. The word “interim” used also in applications and orders of injunction for maintaining the status quo of parties to a suit means “temporary”, “in the mean time.” However an injunction described as interim falls within the above definition and is an interlocutory injunction because it is an application made in the course of the proceedings. But unlike an interlocutory injunction properly so called, an interim injunction is not one granted till the determination of the suit. It is an injunction made until a named date or until further order or until an application on notice can be heard. Thus they bear all the features and trappings of an interlocutory injunction and granted upon the same consideration of equity. Interim orders for injunction can be made pending motion on notice of an interlocutory injunction where applicant is able to show that irretrievable damage may be done before the completion of the hearing of the interlocutory application – See Beese v. Woodhouse (1970) 1 W.L.R. 586,590. An interim injunction is intended to be temporary in its character and any person at whose suit such an injunction is obtained is under an obligation to limit, so far as possible, the time during which it is operative. See Port way Press Ltd. v. Hague (1957) R.P.C. 426 at p. 429. In such a case, the court makes an order to preserve the status quo until the application for interlocutory injunction can be heard and determined. The paramount objective being the doing of justice to the parties, the court has a duty to preserve and protect the right of the parties before it from destruction by either of the parties where such a right is threatened by imminent danger from the action of the other. See Anton Piller KG v. Manufacturing Processes (1976) 1 All E.R. 779. An ex parte application is an application made without notice to the party to be affected by the order to be made. Order XXXIII rule 7 which provides for interlocutory applications to be made either ex parte, or after notice to the parties to be affected thereby, also provides that the court may refuse to make the order sought, or may grant an order to show cause why the order should not be made, or may allow the motion to be made on notice to the parties to be affected thereby – See Order XXXIII rule 10. I have already construed this rule in this judgment to mean that it does not envisage the making of an immediate absolute order. Such order can be made on notice. Rules 11, 12 of Order XXXIII which provide for the varying or discharge of an ex parte order within seven days after service of it or within such further time as the court will allow seems to me to support this view. I agree with the submission of Chief G. O. K. Ajayi, S.A.N., that an application for interlocutory injunction can be made ex parte. But I do not agree that a court can make such an order ex parte. I have already given my reasons for so holding, relying on my interpretation of Order XXXIII rules 10, 11 of the Federal High Court Rules 1976. I think Professor A. B. Kasunmu, S.A.N., with whom Chief F. R. A. Williams, S.A.N., agrees is right in his submission that once the application is one “until the final determination of the suit” as was prayed for by the appellant in this case it is an interlocutory injunction which ought not to be heard or granted ex parte – See Ojukwu v. Governor of Lagos State & anor. (1986) 3 N. W.L.R. (Pt.26) 39 at p. 44. — Karibe-Whyte JSC.

⦿ COURT SHOULD HEAR BOTH PARTIES BEFORE MAKING BINDING ORDERS ON THEM
Generally speaking, the principle of natural justice dictates that the Court should hear both parties before making binding orders on either of them; see Rex v. Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy (1924) 1 K. NB. 256. This principle has now been entrenched in our Constitution (Sec. 33 of the 1979 Constitution) and has since then become the cornerstone of our case law. See Garba v. University of Maiduguri (1986) 1 N.W.L.R. (Pt.18) 550; Prof D. Olatubosun v. N. S. E. R. (1983) 3 N. W. L. R. (Pt.80) 25; Busari Akande v. The State ex parte Governor of Oyo State and Anor.(1988) 3 N. W. L. R.(Pt.85) 681. — Craig JSC.

➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Nnaemeka-Agu, J.S.C.

➥ APPEARANCES
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT(S)
Chief Ajayi, S.A.N.

⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT(S)
Professor Kasunmu, S.A.N.,
Chief Williams S.A.N.

➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS

➥ REFERENCED (LEGISLATION)

➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
⦿ EX PARTE INJUNCTIONS ARE FOR CASES OF REAL URGENCY
Megarry, J., as he then was, put the principle rather succinctly in the case of Bates v. Lord Hailsham of Marylebone (1972) 3 ALL E.R. 1019, at p. 1025, where he stated: “An injunction is a serious matter, and must be treated seriously. If there is a plaintiff who has known about a proposal for ten weeks in general terms and for nearly four weeks in detail, and he wants an injunction to prevent effect being given to it at a meeting of which he has known for well over a fortnight, he must have a most cogent explanation if he is to obtain his injunction on an ex parte application made two and a half hours before the meeting is due to begin. It is no answer to say, as counsel for the plaintiff sought to say, that the grant of an injunction will do the Defendants no harm, for apart from other considerations, an inference from an insufficiently explained tardiness in the application is that the urgency and the gravity of the plaintiff’s case are less ,than compelling. Ex parte injunctions are for cases of real urgency, where there has been a true impossibility of giving notice of motion.”

➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)

End

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