PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – TECHNICALITIES – Attitude of court to technicalities


“The attainment of justice is generally no longer allowed or tolerated to be controlled by adherence to technicalities or smart dexterity in Court but rather to adherence to substance. See Afolabi v Adekunle (2004) 2 SCNLR 1412 at 150 and Egolum v Obasanjo (2004) 1 WRN 87 at 164. See Nneji v Chukwu (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt. 81) 184 per Oputa J.S.C. quoting with approval the dictum of Lord Penzance in Coombe v Edwards (1873) L.R. 3 P.D. 142 as follows:- “The spirit of justice does not reside in formalities, or words, not in the triumph of its administration to be found in successfully picking way between the pitfalls of technicality. After all, the law is, or ought to be, the handmaid of justice, an inflexibility, which is the most becoming robe of law, often serves to render justice grotesque… if the choice is between legal technicality and justice, one ought to cast one’s lot with justice. But it is not all that simple for justice in our Courts is, or ought to be, justice according to law… I will at anytime, anywhere case my lot for truth and justice…” Per PETER-ODILI, J.S.C. in EKWEOZOR & ORS v. REG. TRUSTEES OF THE SAVIOURS APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF NIG (LCER-2020-39155-SC) at p. 59 – p. 60

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