Appeal No. CA/247/2012
Electronic Citation: LERCA/247/2012
AREAS OF LAW– ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATE, ARBITRATION CLAUSE, APPEAL-ISSUE FOR DETERMINATION, STAY OF PROCEEDINGS, INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES
SUMMARY OF FACT
Following the death of Chief FRA Williams SAN, CFR, CON there was a general acceptance by the children that their father revoked every testamentary disposition made by him before his death. Some differences however arose among his children which was later resolved after several mediation sessions chaired by the late Justice Kayode Eso (JSC) following which a family agreement was signed by all the parties in this appeal. Subsequently, the 1st and 2nd Respondents based on the discovery of a Holographic will which was said to have been made by their father and lodged in the Probate Registry of the Lagos State High Court, sought to propound the said will but a caveat was launched against it by the Appellant and the 3rd Respondent. The 1st and 2nd Respondent as a result, instituted an action in the lower court seeking the vacation of the caveat and an order for the grant of letters of Administration of the Deceased estate among other claims. The Appellant filed a motion on notice for stay of proceedings in the lower court and for the matter to be referred to a sole arbitrator as was contained in the Agreement. The court in delivering it’s ruling dismissed the application hence this appeal at the instance of the Appellant.
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION
Whether the learned trial judge erred in law in varying the ambit of EXHIBIT AO2 when the parties thereto agreed that it is exhaustive of all issues concerning or pertaining to the estate of late Chief F.R.A Williams, SAN, CFR, CON
Whether the claim set out in the statement of Claim is covered by EXHIBIT AO2 which is exhaustive of all issues concerning and pertaining to the estate of Late Chief F.R.A Williams, SAN. CFR, CON
Whether EXHIBIT AO2 signed by all the beneficiaries of the estate of late Chief F.R.A Williams, SAN. CFR, CON will govern the manner and distribution of the estate in view of the instrument revoking all testamentary disposition executed by the deceased during his lifetime.
ISSUE FOR DETERMINATION-COMPETENCE OF
“For an issue for determination to be competent, it must relate to the ground or grounds of appeal. Where it is found not to so relate, such issue so formulated and the argument derived there from are deemed incompetent and should be discountenanced or struck out”. PER OSEJI JCA
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION-MUST BE BASED ON THE GROUND OF APPEAL-WHERE NOT SO RELATED-EFFECT OF
“Issues for determination as formulated in a brief or argument must be based on the grounds of appeal filed by the parties. If the issues are not related to any ground of appeal, then they become irrelevant and go to no issue. PER OSEJI JCA
CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS WORDS IN A DOCUMENT- DUTY OF COURT THERETO
“Where a document is clear and unambiguous, the operative words in it should be given their ordinary grammatical meaning”. PER OSEJI JCA
CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS WORDS OF A CONTRACT- HOW CONSTRUED
“Where the language, terms intents or words of any part or section of a written contract, document or enactment are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their ordinary meaning as such terms or words used best declare and present the intention of the parties unless, of course it would lead to absurdity or be in conflict with other provisions thereof”. PER OSEJI JCA
CONSTRUCTION OF A DOCUMENT-PRINCIPLE THEREOF
“It is also trite that in construing the actual or real intent in a given document, contract or enactment, the principle is that the documents, contracts or enactment must be read as a whole and not in isolation by clauses or sections”. PER OSEJI JCA
ARBITRATION CLAUSE-WHERE CONTAINED IN A DOCUMENT-IMPLICATION OF
“The arbitration clause where embedded in a document constitutes an agreement of such parties concerned that if any dispute occurs with regard to the obligations which the parties have undertaken to each other, such dispute should be settled by a body or tribunal of their own constitution and choice.
STAY OF PROCEEDINGS-SECTION 5 (1) OF THE ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION ACT
“An applicant for the stay of proceedings must be a “ party of the arbitration agreement” and that the subject matter of the action must be “ with respect to any matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement”. PER OSEJI JCA
CLEAR, PRECISE AND UNAMBIGUOUS WORDS IN AN AGREEMENT-DUTY OF THE COURT IN EXPOUNDING SAME
“Where therefore the words in an agreement are clear, precise and unambiguous, the court shall without much ado expound those words in their ordinary and natural sense in order to give a true and genuine effect to the intention of the parties”. PER OSEJI JCA
LOCUS STANDI-MEANING OF
“Locus standi denotes the legal capacity to institute proceedings in a court of law”. PER OSEJI
TERMS OF AGREEMENT-BINDINGNESS ON PARTIES-DUTY OF COURTS THERETO
“The law is trite regarding the bindingness of terms of agreement where parties as in the instant appeal voluntarily enter into an agreement and willingly too endorse the said terms, the agreement must be honoured, courts of law being courts of justice and conscience will certainly not allow anything to be read into an express agreement, terms on which parties were not in agreement”. PER ABUBAKAR JCA
A.I.D.C vs Nigeria L.N.G Ltd (2000) 4 NWLR (Pt. 653) 494
Baba vs Nigeria Civil Aviation Training Centre Zaria (1996) 5NWLR (Pt 192) 388
Babatunde vs M.O.N Ltd (2011) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1279) 738
Egwumewu vs Egeagwu (2007) 6 NWLR (Pt 1031) 431
Ibator vs Barakuro (2007) 9 NWLR (Pt 1040) 475
Mamude vs Okafor (1996) 4NWLR (Pt 1448) 637
Momodu vs Momoh (1991) 1NWLR (Pt 169) 608
Ogudo vs The State (2011) 18 NWLR (Pt 1278) 1 at 45
Okpale vs Ibeme (1989) 2 NWLR (Pt 102) 208
Olatunde vs Obafemi Awolowo University (1998) 4 S.C 91
Orogan vs Soremekun (1986) NWLR (1986) NWLR (Pt 44) 688
Ossai v Wakwah (2006) 4NWLR (Pt 969) 208
Royal Exchange Assurance vs Bentorth Finance (Nig) Ltd (1976) 11 SC (Reprint) 9
SCOA Nig Ltd vs Boudrex Ltd (1990) 3 NWLR (Pt 138)380
Shettima vs Goni (2011) 18 NWLR (Pt 1279) 413 at 439-440
Thomas vs Olufosoye (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt 18) 669
UBN Plc vs Ozigi (1994)3 NWLR (Pt 333) 385
Unilife Development Co. Ltd vs Adeshigbin (2001) 4 NWLR (Pt 704) 609
Zenith Bank Plc vs Egbe (2003) 10 NWLR (Pt 827) 1
STATUTES REFERRED TO:
Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1990
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