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  • 2003-02-24
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Mingi Services Ltd v. Imaoye

MINGI SERVICES LTD.

MINGI MOTORS LTD.

MINGI LEASING LTD.

V

MR. TUBONMI IMAOYE

COURT OF APPEAL

( PORT HARCOURT DIVISION )

JAMES OGENYI OGEBE, JCA

MICHAEL EYARUOMA AKPIROROH, JCA

ABOYI JOHN IKONGBEH, JCA  ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/PH/245/2000

WEDNESDAY, 26TH JUNE, 2002

LEGAL PRACTITIONER - Counsel - Mistake of counsel - Deliberate action of counsel - Distinction between

LEGAL PRACTITIONER - Counsel - Mistake of - Whether should be visited on the litigant

Issue:

Whether or not the deliberate refusal or neglect by counsel for a party to appear to prosecute his case or defence and the break-down in communication between counsel and client are good grounds to seek to set aside a judgment obtained in the absence of the defaulting client.

Facts:

The respondent as plaintiff took out a writ of summons against the appellants seeking a number of reliefs for wrongful dismissal. The appellants briefed their counsel who caused an appearance to be entered on their behalf. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff’s statement of claim was filed and served on the legal practitioner. Nothing further was heard from the appellants and their counsel, until after a number of adjournments, Judgments was entered for the plaintiff, who had testified in support of his claim. When the plaintiff  attempted to levy execution, the appellants filed a motion for an order setting aside the judgment on account of failure or negligence of their counsel to inform them or take appropriate legal steps to defend and protect their interest in the suit. Their second reason is the death of chairman/ M.D of the defendants’ company. Unimpressed by the reason, the trial court accordingly dismissed the application. Dissatisfied, appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.