COURT - Costs - Discretion of court to order that a losing party pay
costs before instituting further proceedings - How exercised
COURT - Matters before the court - Duty of court while deciding
COURT - Proceedings therebefore - Need for to keep records of - Effect of challenge of
COURT - Record of proceedings of court - Purpose of
COURT - Trial court - Discretion of trial court on the issue of costs
Whether Court of Appeal will interfere with
JURISPRUDENCE - Judge - Role of as an umpire in Nigerian
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Court - Record of proceedings thereof - Purpose of
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Defective writ - Plaintiff who applied for
same to be set aside - Whether need to further file a notice of discontinuance
Was there breach of the appellantâ€™s fundamental right
to fair hearing on the issue of costs?
Assuming but not conceding that there was no breach of
the appellantâ€™s right to fair hearing on the issue of costs, did the learned
trial Judge exercise his discretion to award the costs judicially and
judiciously before awarding the total costs of N400,000.00 (that is N100,000.00
per respondent) to all the respondents.
Plaintiff instituted this action against the defendants at
the High Court of Abuja claiming damages for libel. By an ex-parte application filed on 5th February, the same date that the
suit was instituted, plaintiff was granted leave on 10th February to issue and
serve the writ in Lagos where the defendants were resident. Another ex-parte order was made to serve the 4th
defendant by substituted means on 25th February 1999. Subsequently, the 1st -
3rd defendants filed an application praying the court for an order to dismiss
the suit for want of jurisdiction, in the alternative to set aside the issuance
of the writ on the ground that the writ of summons was purportedly issued on
5th February before the leave to issue and serve the writ outside jurisdiction
of the court was given. The 4th defendant also filed an application praying the
court to inter alia strike out the
suit on the ground of jurisdiction.
At the hearing of the applications, plaintiffâ€™s counsel
orally applied that the writ and services of the writ be set aside as prayed by
the defendant. Before the next adjourned date for continuation of hearing of
the application, plaintiff filed a notice of discontinuance. The trial court
discontinued the action and on the application of the defendants, the court
awarded N100,000.00 as costs for each of the defendants.
Dissatisfied, the plaintiff
appealed to the Court of Appeal against the order for costs.