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  • Chevron Ltd v. Warri North Local Govt.
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  • 2002-12-09
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Chevron Ltd v. Warri North Local Govt.

CHEVRON NIGERIA LIMITED

V

WARRI NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL

COURT OF APPEAL

( BENIN DIVISION )

( HOLDEN AT WARRI )

RAPHAEL O. ROWLAND, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

SAKA ADEYEMI IBIYEYE, JCA

KUMAI BAYANG AKAAHS, JCA

CA/B/164/98

THURSDAY, 24TH JANUARY, 2002

COURT - Decision of court given without jurisdiction - Power of the same court to set same aside

COURT - Issue of competence and jurisdiction - Duty on trial court to consider same once raised

COURT - Issue raised and argued in the cause of proceedings by parties Duty on court to pronounce on or resolve same - Failure to do so Effect

COURT - Judgment delivered on the undefended list - Whether the same court can set it aside

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Judgment delivered on the undefended list -

Whether the same court can set it aside

JURISDICTION - Competence of court - Defect therein - Effect

JURISDICTION - Decision of court given without jurisdiction - Power of the same court to set it aside

JURISDICTION - Issue of competence and jurisdiction - Duty on trial court to consider same when raised

JURISDICTION - Jurisdiction of court - Conditions therefor

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Non-service or irregular service of court processes - Whether an issue for the trial court to deal with

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Service of court processes - Failure to serve court process - Effect thereof

Issue:

Whether in the circumstance of this case, the learned trial Judge was right in dismissing the application to set aside the judgment entered under the undefended list without first considering it on the merit OR PUT IN ANOTHER WAY, whether in the circumstance of the case, the learned trial Judge was right in dismissing the application to set aside the judgment entered under the undefended list on the basis that the only option open to defendant is an appeal.

Facts:

At the lower court judgment was entered in favour of the respondent as plaintiff in an action brought by the respondent against the appellant as defendant under the undefended list. The appellant subsequently brought a motion on notice praying the Honourable Court among other reliefs, to set aside the judgment on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter or proceed to enter judgment on the materials placed before it. After hearing the argument of counsel on the said motion the learned trial Judge dismissed the application on the premise that a judgment entered and passed on the “undefended list” cannot be set aside by way of a motion and that the only option open to the applicant is to file an appeal against the judgment. Dissatisfied with the ruling, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.