May 7, 2021 Omaplex 0 Comments

Cases are filed at the Registry of the court. The Chief Judge will assign the case to a judge. After the case has been assigned to a judge. After the case has been assigned to a judge, the processes will be served on the defendant or respondent. Service of court processes are so important that it affects the jurisdiction of the court. A judgement based on a case where there is an evidence of non-service or improper service, such judgment will be set aside at appeal. Service of court processes is personal but where personal service is impossible, a party can apply to a court through a motion ex-parte to serve the defendant by substituted means. By the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 and the rules of Court, processes can be served on a director, trustee, secretary or other principal officer or by leaving the process at the registered office of the company. See the case of Mark v. Eke[1]

After service of the process on the Defendant/Respondent, he will be expected to enter appearance as well as file his response. The claimant will thereafter file a reply if need be. After the close of pleadings, the claimant/plaintiff will present his witnesses; he can tender documents through the witnesses after which it will be admitted and marked as an exhibit for a document to be admissible the following conditions must be satisfied:

  1. The documents or facts about the document was pleaded
  2. it is relevant
  3. it is admissible

See section 83 to 105 of the Evidence Act 2011. The opposing party can raise objection while the document is being tendered and if the objective is valid the court will reject the document and mark it rejected. The witnesses will be cross examined by the opposing party after which the claimant can re-examine the witnesses if there is any ambiguity. After presenting all its witnesses, the claimant can close their case after which the defendant can present their witnesses and they will be cross examined by the claimant’s counsel. They can also tender their documents and they will be admitted if they meet up to the conditions. They will thereafter close their case. Any party can secure the attendance of a witness through subpoena. A subpoena is a document signed by a judge commanding a person to attend court as a witness to give evidence at the trial. Subpoena ad testificandum is issued for a witness who will testify only and subpoena duces tecum is issued for a witness who is required to produce documents. After the close of the case of the Defendant, the court will adjourn for adoption of final written address. The Defendant will file its final written address first, after which the Claimant/Plaintiff will file its final written address. The Defendant will thereafter file a reply on points of law if need be. After adoption of final written address, the court will adjourn for judgment. The courts give its judgment in an open court.

The above procedure is for cases based on pleadings. The procedure for cases based on affidavit evidence like originating summons and motions; claimant/applicant files his originating summons/motions and support it with affidavit and written address. Documents are also attached as exhibits. The Respondent/Defendant will thereafter file a counter affidavit and written address after which the claimant/applicant can file a reply on points of law if need be. Affidavits are deposed to and signed by the Deponents and the Deponents sign the affidavit before a Commissioner for oath. After all the processes are filed the court adjourns for hearing. On the date for hearing parties adopt their different processes. Witnesses are not called. The Court thereafter adjourns for judgment and judgment is delivered in an open court.

[1] (2005) 7 NWLR (pt 923) 145

Civil Litigation Proceedings from The Time of Filing to Judgment was last modified: May 7th, 2021 by Omaplex