Areas of Law
APPEAL, ACTION, COURT, LAND LAW, STARE DECISIS, PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE.
Summary of Facts
The Plaintiffs/Respondents instituted an action against the Defendants/Appellants at the High Court of Ogun State, Abeokuta for a declaration that they were the ones rightfully entitled to the Certificate of Occupancy in respect of the land situate at Osi Quarters, Otta, Egba Division, Ogun State, damages for trespass and an injunction restraining the Defendants/Appellants from interfering with the land without the consent of the Plaintiffs/Respondents. At the end of the trial, the claims of the Plaintiffs/Respondents were dismissed on November 6, 1985. Consequent upon which they lodged an appeal to the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division, which was subsequently dismissed by a ruling of November 17, 1994 upon an application by the Defendants/Appellants praying the Court of Appeal to dismiss the appeal of the Plaintiffs/Respondents for want of diligent prosecution by way of failure to file their brief of argument. The Plaintiffs/Respondents however sought to set aside the order of the Court of Appeal dismissing the appeal by an application, but same was also dismissed by the Court of Appeal on the 23rd of November, 2000. However, the Plaintiffs/Respondents later brought an application dated the 28th of June, 2002 praying the court to extend the time within which they could file their brief of argument in the appeal which was dismissed by a ruling dated the 17th of November, 1994. The application of the Plaintiffs/Respondents was then granted on the 3rd of December, 2002 despite the objection of the Defendant/Appellant. Displeased by the decision of the Court of Appeal, the Defendants/Appellants have appealed to the Supreme Court.
Issues for Determination
DISMISSAL OF AN APPEAL – AN APPEAL WHICH IS DISMISSED ON THE GROUND OF FAILURE OF THE APPELLANT TO FILE HIS BRIEF OF ARGUMENT IS FINAL AND CANNOT BE RESURRECTED BY ANY COURT.
“Such a dismissal order terminated the life of the appeal, which was, in consequence, delisted from the cause list. No court had the jurisdiction to resuscitate or revive it, Kraus Thompson Organisation v. N.I.P.S.S.  5 SC (pt.l) 16 because such an appeal dismissed on the ground of the failure to file an appellant’s brief of argument was final and thus could not be revived, Tsokwa v. U. T. C. (Nig.) Ltd  7 NWLR (pt. 666) 654, 661.” PER C. C. NWEZE J.S.C.
DOCTRINE OF STARE DECISIS – A LOWER COURT IS BOUND TO FOLLOW THE DECISION OF A SUPERIOR COURT.
“It ought to be strictly followed by all lower courts. There is sense in it to avoid confusion. See: Royal Exchange Assurance Nig Ltd. v. Aswani Textiles Ind. Ltd. (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt. 176) 639 at 672. It is not proper to refuse to follow the decision of a superior court. A lower court should toe the line; as it were. See: Atolagbe v. Awuni & Ors. (1997) 7 SCNJ1 at 20, 24 and 35.” PER J. A. FABIYI, J.S.C.
Statutes Referred To
Court of Appeal Act.
Court of Appeal Rules, 1981
Court of Appeal Rules, 2002
Court of Appeal Rules, 2011
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