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  • Rebold Industries Ltd v. Magreola
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  • 2015-08-17
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Rebold Industries Ltd v. Magreola

REBOLD INDUSTRIES LTD

V

  1. MRS. OLUBUKOLA MAGREOLA
  2. MISS. MOJISOLA MAGREOLA
  3. MR.BABAJIDE MAGREOLA

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

JOHN AFOLABI FABIYI JSC ( Presided )

CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI JSC

KUDIRAT  MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN JSC

JOHN INYANG OKORO JSC (Read the Lead Judgment)

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE JSC

SC.259/2007

FRIDAY, 24 APRIL 2015

ACTION - Cause of action - Plaintiff - Duty on to establish

ACTION - Relief sought in appeal or a suit - Mandatoriness of basing on peculiar facts of the case - Court - Duty on to determine right of parties thereon

APPEAL - Relief sought in appeal or a suit - Mandatoriness of basing on peculiar facts of the case - Court - Duty on to determine right of parties thereon

CONTRACT - Privity of contract - What connotes - A beneficiary not a party to - Whether can sue thereon - Exceptions to the rule

COURT - Relief sought in appeal or a suit - Mandatoriness of basing on peculiar facts of the case - Court - Duty on to determine right of parties thereon

JUDICIAL PRECEDENT - Stare decisis - Doctrine of - Rationale for Lower court - Bindingness of by decisions of superior court

JURISPRUDENCE - General rule - Exception to - Party who relies - Onus on to situate his case therein

Issue:

Whether the lower court was right in deciding that the respondent has the locus standi to sue for the payment of his professional fees in respect of an agreement he prepared between Mandilas Group Limited and the appellant to which he (respondent), is not a party.

Facts:

The respondents herein are representatives of the original respondent ( now deceased), who claimed in the High Court of Lagos State that it was retained by the Mandilas Group Ltd to prepare and engross a deed of sublease in respect of a property situate at 7A Creek Road, Apapa, Lagos, between it and the appellant. The terms of the agreement stated that the appellant was to pay the legal fees incurred in preparing the deed of lease. When the appellant failed to pay as agreed, the respondent took out a writ of summons to recover the fee. The appellant failed to respond to the summons and a default judgment was entered against it. Aggrieved, the appellant filed a motion at the trial court challenging its jurisdiction and the locus standi of the respondents to file the action. The trial court dismissed the motion. An appeal filed to the Court of Appeal against the trial court’s decision was equally dismissed. Yet aggrieved, the appellant filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, contending that the lower court erred by affirming the trial court’s decision vesting locus standi in the respondents to commence the action.

In determining the appeal, the Supreme Court considered the following statute:

Legal Practitioners’ Act, section 16(1) and (3)

“ 16(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a legal practitioner shall be entitled to recover his charges by action in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(3) In any case in which a legal practitioner satisfies the court, on an application made either ex parte or if the court so directs after giving the prescribed notice.

  1. That he has delivered a bill of charges to a client and
  2. That on the face of it the charges appear to be proper in the circumstances; and
  3. That there are circumstances indicating that the client

is about to do some act which would probably prevent or delay the payment to the practitioner of the charges, then, notwithstanding that the period mentioned in paragraphs ( b) of subsection (2) of this section has not expired, the court may direct that the practitioner be authorized to bring and prosecute an action to recover the charges unless before judgment in the action the client gives such security for the payment of the charges as may be specified in the direction.”