EFFECT OF MISTAKE IN THE YEAR OF A JUDGEMENT BEING APPEALED AGAINST.* Daily Law Tips (Tip 534) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

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After judgment is delivered by a court, dissatisfied party can appeal against such judgment, where the court is not final. There cannot be an appeal over the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The Supreme Court is final. Bing human, it is not unusual for lawyers to make mistakes. Mistakes of counsel can affect the case of his client. What will courts in Nigeria do, where in an appeal, there is mistake in the year the judgement being appealed against was delivered? Does such mistake rob court of its jurisdiction and make appeal incompetent?

This Supreme Court has pronounced on this issue. Below is what the apex court held;

“…I agree with the learned counsel for the Appellant that this is a mere clerical error resulting from the mistake or inadvertence of his counsel. It is not a fundamental error that robs the lower Court the jurisdiction to entertain the appellant’s appeal. Faced with a similar circumstance in JERIC NIGERIA LIMITED v. UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC (Supra) (a case that is considered on all fours with the instant case) this court per KALGO, JSC at page 458 had this to say: “I also entirely agree with the submissions of the learned counsel for the respondent that the mis-stating of the actual year of judgment in the circumstances of the case is a mere irregularity which did not vitiate the appeal or cause any miscarriage of justice. The error is as in my respectful view not fatal as to render the appeal incompetent. It is also true as submitted by the learned counsel for the respondent that this court has long moved away from sticking to technicalities as opposed, to the determination of parties rights on merits and substantial justice. See the State v. Gwonto (1983) 1 SCNLR at 160; Amako v. The State (1995) 6 NWLR (Pt. 399) 11 at 26; Akpan v. The State (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt. 248) 439.” Per GALADIMA ,J.S.C ( Pp. 20-21, paras. G-E )

My authorities are the decision so the Supreme Court in the following cases:

1. KAKIH v. PDP & ORS (2014) LPELR-23277(SC)

2. State v. Gwonto (1983) 1 SCNLR at 160;

3. Amako v. The State (1995) 6 NWLR (Pt. 399) 11 at 26;

4. Akpan v. The State (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt. 248) 439

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