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Rgd. Trustees, United African Methodist Church v. Enemuo

REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF UNITED AFRICAN METHODIST CHURCH

V

KENNETH ENEMUO

COURT OF APPEAL

( LAGOS DIVISION )

RITA NOSAKHARE PEMU JCA ( Presided )

CHINWE EUGENIA IYIZOBA JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

JAMILU YAMMAMA TUKUR JCA

CA/L/1238/2010

FRIDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2014

APPEAL - Originating processes in trial court - Preliminary objection to on grounds of incompetence - Whether may be raised on appeal

COURT - Competence of - Determinants - Jurisdiction of - Lack of or defect in - Effect

JURISDICTION - Exercise of - Condition precedent to - Failure to comply with - Effect of

LEGAL PRACTITIONER - Court processes - Legal practitioner as only party competent to sign

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Court processes - Legal practitioner as only party competent to sign

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Originating processes in trial court Preliminary objection to on grounds of incompetence - Whether may be raised on appeal

Issue:

Whether the trial court had jurisdiction to determine respondent’s action in which originating process thereof was signed by a law firm.

Facts:

The respondent as plaintiff in the High Court of Lagos State, claimed that the land situate at Aina Asoloye Street, Eleja Ikorodu, Lagos State, formed part of a larger land belonging to the Lowa family of Ikorodu. He further claimed that his predecessor-in-title was a member of the family and had conveyed all her interests in the land to him but that the appellant trespassed thereon. He therefore commenced the action seeking a declaration that he is the rightful owner and entitled to the statutory right of occupancy on the land. The respondent however claimed that the land in dispute formed part of a larger land bought by it from the owning family and had been in possession until the respondent began to lay claims on it. The trial court granted the reliefs sought by the respondent, save for his claims for special damages. Not satisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal and raised a preliminary objection contending that the lower court had no jurisdiction to entertain respondent’s action on the ground that the writ of summons was signed by a law firm.