[PDF copy of this judgment can be sent to your email for N300 only. Just order through firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or text 07067102097]
ALHAJI ABDULKADIR BALARABE MUSA
AUTA HAMZA & ORS
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA
ON MONDAY, THE 24TH DAY OF MAY, 1982
(1982) 5 S.C. (REPRINT) 84
BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS
GEORGE SODEINDE SOWEMIMO, JSC
MOHAMMED BELLO, JSC
CHUKWUNWEIKE IDIGBE, JSC
ANDREWS OTUTU OBASEKI, JSC
ANTHONY NNAEMEZIE ANIAGOLU, JSC
ALHAJI ABDULKADIR BALARABE MUSA – Appellant(s)
AUTA HAMZA & SIX ORS – Respondent(s)
G.O. K Ajayi, SAN, (with him, O. Ajayi and F. A. Adeoye) – For Appellant
Dr. M. Odje (with him, Chief M. O. Akpofure) – For Respondent
ETHICS – LEGAL PRACTITIONER:- Negligence – Failure to observe rules of court – No exceptional circumstances shown for application for extension of time to file the brief – Judgment of the Court of Appeal has not been exhibited for the application to amend and argue additional grounds of appeal – Effect
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – SUPREME COURT – RULES: Application on ground of exceptional circumstances – failure to show exceptional ground – Failure to attach Judgment of court below complained of – duty of court
G.S. SOWEMIMO, J.S.C.:
This is a matter in which counsel has been instructed to appeal. There are rules of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which govern the procedure. No justifiable reason had been given why these rules have not been followed. There is no merit in the application and it is hereby refused with N25 costs.
M. BELLO, J.S.C.:
I agree there is no merit shown in both applications. No exceptional circumstances shown for extension of time to file the brief and the judgment of the Court of Appeal has not been exhibited for the application to amend and argue additional grounds of appeal. The application is dismissed with N25 costs to the respondents.
C. IDIGBE, J.S.C.:
I agree that the applications be dismissed. In so far as the prayer for leave to amend ground of appeal is concerned, I find no material on which to base the exercise of my discretion since the judgments which this appeal seeks to challenge have not been exhibited with this application. With reference to the prayer for enlargement of time within which to file a brief, I see no reason in this particular application why the Practice Directions recently issued by the Chief Justice and this court should not be strictly applied; there being no exceptional circumstances which justify a departure from these rather stringent Directions. In the event, I am of the firm view that both applications lack merit and are accordingly refused. N25 costs on each application.
A.O. OBASEKI, J.S.C.:
The absence of the applicant from the country and the failure of junior counsel to instruct a senior counsel in time for the filing of brief of argument do not constitute exceptional circumstances to be considered in favour of the applicant. The brief was received in the first week of November, 1981. Allowing 8 weeks ordered by the Rules, the applicant ought to have filed his brief of argument in January, 1982, i.e. four months ago. As regards the 2nd application, i.e. for leave to file additional grounds of appeal, the application is premature in that there is no record of appeal exhibited. There is no way of the court knowing how many grounds of appeal were filed.I agree that no exceptional reasons have been shown for the orders sought and I agree that the applications be dismissed and they are hereby dismissed with N25 costs.
A.N. ANIAGOLU, J.S.C.:
In this application, the “very exceptional circumstances” required by the latest Practice Direction of 26th April, 1982, have, in my view, not been shown by the appellant/applicant. Many applications have recently been either struck out or dismissed for failure to meet the requirement of the said Practice Direction. For us to grant this application for extension of time within which to file and serve appellant’s brief is, in my view, to apply a double standard. I would refuse the application for extension of time to file and serve brief. For the application to argue additional grounds of appeal, it must, consequentially, be refused. The order for costs which is as contained in the ruling of my brother, the presiding Justice, will prevail.