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Macaulay vs. R. Z. B. of Austria

ANDREW MARK MACAULAY

V

RAIFFEISEN ZENTRAL BANK OSTERREICH

AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT (RZB) OF AUSTRIA

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC (Presided)

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KATSINA-ALU, JSC

UMARU ATU KALGO, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SAMSON ODEMWINGIE UWAIFO, JSC

NIKI TOBI, JSC

SC. 109/2002

FRIDAY, 12TH DECEMBER, 2003

LEGISLATION - Reciprocal Enforcement Law -  Section 3(1) of the 1958  Ordinance and section 10(a) of the 1990 Act - Application thereof to instant case

PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW - Foreign Judgments ( Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Cap. 152, Laws of the Federation 1990 Section 3 thereof - Powers conferred on Justice Minister thereunder - Effect of exercise thereof

PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW - Foreign Judgements ( Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Cap. 152, Laws of the Federation, 1990 Section 4 thereof - Circumstance under which will apply

PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW - Reciprocal Enforcement Law Section 3(1) of the 1958 Ordinance and section 10(a) of the 1990  Act - Application thereof to instant case

PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW - Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, Cap. 175, Laws of the Federation and Lagos, 1958 - Limiting period for registration of foreign judgments therein contained - Recourse to historicism in explaining the basis for continued application thereof

STATUTE - Foreign Judgements ( Reciprocal Enforcement) Act Cap. 152 , Laws of the Federation, 1990 - Commencement date thereof

STATUTE - Foreign Judgements ( Reciprocal Enforcement) Act Cap. 152, Laws of the Federation, 1990 - Section 4 thereof Circumstance under which will apply

STATUTE - Foreign Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Cap. 152 , Laws of the Federation, 1990 - Section 9(1) thereof - Purport of

STATUTE - Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Cap. 152 , Laws of the Federation, 1990 - Section 3 thereof - Powers conferred on Justice Minister thereunder - Effect of exercise thereof

STATUTE - Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Cap. 152 , Laws of the Federation, 1990 - Section 3 thereof - Whether powers contained therein have been exercised by the number of justice

STATUTE - Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, Cap. 175, Laws of Federation and Lagos, 1958 - Issue dealt with thereunder

STATUTE - Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, Cap. 175, Laws of the Federation and Lagos, 1958 - Limiting period for registration of foreign judgments therein contained - Historical background to the continued application thereof

STATUTE - Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, Cap. 175, Laws of the Federation and Lagos, 1958 - Underlying basis for promulgation of

STATUTE - Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, Cap. 175, Laws of the Federation and Lagos, 1958 - Whether specifically repealed by Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Cap. 152, Laws of the Federation, 1990 - Implication of contemporary status thereof

STATUTE - Reciprocal Enforcement Laws - Section 4 of the 1990 Act vis-a-vis section 3 of the 1958 Ordinance - Whether capable of amalgamation

Issues:

1.             Whether the Court of Appeal was right in holding that the registration of the judgment of the High Court of England in Nigeria after twelve months from the date of judgment was within time and competent.

2.             Whether the Court of Appeal was right in holding that the registration of the foreign judgement in this case was not contrary to public policy.

Facts:

The respondents, as plaintiffs took out a writ of summons against three defendants - amongst who was the appellant in this case - at the Queens Bench Division, England, on the 4th of May 1995 for an amount of US $5,500,000 together with interest. This was pursuant to the failure to satisfy the terms of the guarantee dated 30 August, 1991 in London which the defendants jointly and severally entered with the plaintiff wherein they unconditionally guaranteed that they would on demand pay the plaintiff the said amount owed by Constante Trading Limited or for which that company may become liable to the plaintiff.

On 19 December, 1995 judgment was entered for that amount together with interest to be assessed in favour of the plaintiffs (now respondents). The respondents applied to the High Court of Lagos on 28 August, 1997 for leave to register the said judgment against the appellant. On 8 September 1997 , the High Court granted leave. The appellant sought to set aside the registration of the foreign debt on the ground that it was not registered within 12 months from the date the judgment was delivered. This was resisted. But on 6 February, 1998 the petition by which the appellant sought to set the registration aside was dismissed by the High Court presided over by Ade Alabi, J. The appeal against that dismissal was also dismissed by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on 15 February, 1999.

Whereupon the appellant has appealed to the Supreme Court.