PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – HEARING – What hearing entails; when a hearing will be said to have been on the merits


“The word “Hearing” was judicially considered by the Supreme Court in OKOYE & ORS VS NIGERIAN CONSTRUCTION & FURNITURES CO. LTD. & ORS (1991) 6 NWLR (PT.199) 501 AT 522 where this Court held “Hearing” a case is not only by oral evidence. Submissions from counsel without oral evidence from parties and the Court consequently giving judgment on the basis of the submissions may amount to hearing and determination of a case or matter. I call attention to the averments of facts pleaded by Appellant in his Statement of Claim in Suit No. HOY/7/97 which were relied upon in the Respondent’s application case. The averments of facts pleaded by the Appellant were deemed to have been admitted for the purpose of the application. See: EGBE VS ALHAJI & ORS (1990) 1 NWLR (PT. 128) 546 AT 591. The submissions from counsel in Suit No. HOY/7/97 which were based on Appellant’s pleadings in the case constituted a hearing in the same. The Learned Trial Judge that dismissed Suit No. HOY/ 7/97 went into merits of the said suit before he dismissed same. See: TOMTEC NIGERIA LIMITED VS FEDERAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (2009) 12 SCNJ 190 AT 201 -202 where this Court held “A decision on merit is one rendered after argument and investigation and a determination as to which of the parties is in the right as distinguished from a judgment or decision rendered upon some preliminary or formal part or by default and without trial.” Per PETER-ODILI, JSC inADEGBANKE v. OJELABI & ORS (2021-LCER-40456-SC) (Pp 26 – 28 Paras F – A)

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