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Yakubu v. Yola Electricity Distribution Company Ltd

  1. ALHAJI ISIYAKU YAKUBU
  2. ALHAJI ISIYAKU YAKUBU ENTERPRISES LTD

V

  1. YOLA ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY LTD
  2. YASACOMA LTD

COURT OF APPEAL

( YOLA DIVISION )

JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment)

ADAMU JAURO JCA

BIOBELE ABRAHAM GEORGEWILL JCA

CA/J/281/2004

TUESDAY, 17 JUNE 2014

COURT - Vain acts - Impropriety of court engaging in

JURISDICTION - Proceedings conducted by court without jurisdiction -  Legal effect of

LEGAL MAXIM - ‘Ex nihilo nihil fit’ - Meaning of

LEGAL PRACTITIONER - Counsel - Need for care, diligence and industry in practice

LEGAL PRACTITIONER - Counsel signing a court process without appending his name thereto - Effect

NOTABLE PRONOUNCEMENT - Legal practitioner - Need for to exercise care, diligence and industry in practice

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Jurisdiction - Proceedings conducted by court without jurisdiction - Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Originating processes - Where defective - Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Signing of court process without a name appended thereto - Effect of - Section 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioner’s Act, Cap. L11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 considered

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Signing of court processes in a firm’s name - Impropriety of - Sections 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act, Cap. L11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004  considered

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Substantive law - Matters of - Whether can be waived

WAIVER - Substantive law - Matters of - Whether can be waived

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Ex nihilo nihil fit’ - Meaning of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Legal Practitioner’ and ‘firm of legal practitioners’ - Distinction between

Issue:

Whether a process that is signed in the name of a law firm is not incurably defective as to deprived the court of its jurisdiction to entertain it.

Facts:

The appellants as plaintiffs in the lower court commenced an action by way of application for the issuance of a writ of summons, endorsed by the particulars of claim in 1996. Following the application, a civil summons was issued and signed by the trial judge on 26 February 1996. Pleadings were duly filed and exchanged and after hearing has commenced, the defendants filed an application that the plaintiffs case be struck out on grounds that it was statute barred, having been caught by the Public Officers

Protection Law. The court held that the plaintiff’s matter was statute-barred.

Being dissatisfied, the plaintiffs filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal, challenging the decision of the trial court, which struck out their case. While at the Court of Appeal, the court suo motu drew the attention of both counsel to the appellants and the respondents to the joint statement of claime filed by the appellants in 1996; which was signed in the name of the firm of “Messrs L.D. Nzadon and Co.”; and asked counsel to address it on the issue.