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  • R-Benkay (Nig.) Ltd v. Cadbury (Nig.) Plc
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  • 2012-07-02
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R-Benkay (Nig.) Ltd v. Cadbury (Nig.) Plc

R-BENKAY NIGERIA LIMITED

V

CADBURY NIGERIA PLC

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD JSC ( Presided )

OLUFUNLOLA OYELOLA ADEKEYE JSC

BODE RHODES-VIVOUR JSC

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI JSC

SC.29/2006

FRIDAY, 23 MARCH 2012

APPEAL - Findings of fact by lower courts - Supreme Court - Attitude of thereto

COURT - Abuse of court process - Meaning of - What constitutes

INJUNCTIONS - Order of - Where made for a specific duration - When discharged

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Abuse of court process - Meaning of -  What constitutes

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Party given options to exercise his rights - Form to be adopted by - Opponent - Where prescribes Impropriety of

Issues:

  1. Whether from the facts and circumstances of this case, the obtaining of an order of mareva injunction by the respondent

on 20 April 2000 permitting it to detain the appellant’s 30tonne trailer which trailer was the res in the appellant’s pending counterclaim in suit No. 1D/749/99, constitutes an abuse of court process.

  1. Whether from the facts and circumstances of this case, the institution and continued prosecution of this suit (i.e suit No. ID/999/2000 by the respondent while the appellant’s counterclaim in suit No. ID/749/97 was still pending constitutes an abuse of court process.
  2. Whether from the facts and circumstances of this case, the order of mareva injunction dated 20 April 2000 ought to be discharged.

Facts:

The plaintiff, a manufacturer of food beverages and food items engaged the defendant to transport its goods. When the goods were lost in transit, the plaintiff commenced an action in the High Court of Lagos State claiming the value of the goods and loss suffered by the plaintiff. The defendant filed a counterclaim claiming damages for wrongful detention of its trailers and a preliminary objection to plaintiff’s suit for being premature. The trial court dismissed the application. Aggrieved, the defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal where the appeal was allowed and an order of court dismissing plaintiff’s action in the trial court. The plaintiff subsequently commenced another action in which it obtained an ex parte order of mareva injunction and an order directing the deputy sheriff to take possession of defendant’s trailer. The defendant filed a motion praying the court to dismiss plaintiff’s suit for constituting abuse of court process or in the alternative that the mareva and attachment orders be discharged and the proceedings in suit be stayed pending determination of its pending counterclaim in the trial court. The trial court refused the application. Its appeal to the Court of Appeal was also dismissed. The trial court thereafter delivered its judgment in the pending counterclaim where it held that the plaintiff unlawfully seized and detained defendant’s trailer but that it was incapacitated in ordering a return of the trailer as a result of the subsequent order of mareva injunction obtained by the plaintiff in the subsequent suit. The defendant then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against dismissal of its appeal at the Court of Appeal.