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  • 2017-03-17
  • CA/L/98/2012
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RIDA NATIONAL PLASTICS LTD v ARTEE INDUSTRIES LTD

RIDA NATIONAL PLASTICS LTD
V
ARTEE INDUSTRIES LTD
COURT OF APPEAL
(LAGOS DIVISION)
 
MOHAMMED LAWAL GARBA JCA (Presided and Read the Lead Judgment)
TIJJANI ABUBAKAR JCA
ABIMBOLA OSARUGUE OBASEKI-ADEJUMO JCA
 
CA/L/98/2012
FRIDAY, 17 MARCH 2017
 
APPEAL - Discretion by trial court - Exercise of - Attitude of appellate court to
APPEAL - Respondent’s notice - Absence of - Whether translates to automatic success of appeal
FAIR HEARING - Breach of - When a party may allege - Allegation of - Propriety of determination of in respect of
procedure adopted by court
FAIR HEARING - Meaning of - What encompasses - Section 36(1) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria considered
FAIR HEARING - Right to - Breach of - Effect
PLEADINGS - Amendment of - Application for - When trial court may allow - When improper to grant
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Originating process - Party - Right of to amend - Discretionary powers of trial court to
grant - Exercise of - Proper approach thereto - Order 24, rules 1 and 2, Lagos State High Court (Civil Procedure)
Rules, 2004, considered
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Amendment of - Application for - When trial court may allow - When
improper to grant
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Rules of court - Parties and court - Onus on to comply with
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Substantive issues - Court - Where determines at interlocutory stage - Impropriety of
STATUTE - Lagos State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, Order 24, rules 1 and 2 - Originating process - Party -
Right of to amend - Discretionary powers of trial court to grant - Exercise of - Proper approach thereto
WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Judicial’ and ‘judicious’ - Meanings of
 
Issues:
1. Whether the trial court was right in evaluating the claimant’s statement of claim and documents attached
thereto and decide the substantive action on an interlocutory application for amendment.
2. Whether the trial court directed itself properly when  it held the claimant was claiming “for a shortfall of
40 days at the supposedly new rate” when there was no such claim in the statement of claim it was evaluating.
3. Whether the learned trial judge considering the circumstances of the application can be said to have
exercised his discretion in refusing the application judiciously and judicially.
4. Whether the learned trial judge’s evaluation of the pleadings and the documents attached thereto without
the parties calling evidence thereof and thereby decided the substantive issues for trial on an interlocutory application was not a denial of fair hearing to the appellant.
 
Facts:
The appellants and the respondent entered into a sub-lease agreement in respect of appellant’s property at Plot 8, Ilupeju
Industrial Estate, Lagos State. The sub-lease was for eight (8) years at an annual sum of N8,789,000.00 (eight million, seven hundred and eighty-nine thousand naira). The appellant filed an action against the respondent in the High Court of Lagos State claiming two years rent as per the sub-lease with pre and post-judgment interest and rent payable for the days the property was held over.
After settlement of pleadings, the appellant filed a motion seeking leave to amend its statement of claim. The trial court
dismissed the application.
Dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal contending that the lower court erred in
evaluating the statement of claim in determination of an interlocutory application for amendment.
In determining the appeal, the Court of Appeal considered the following statutes:
Order 24, rule 1 of the High Court Rules, 2004:-
A party may amend his originating process and pleadings at any time before the close of pre-trial 
conference and not more than twice during the pretrial but before the close of the case.
Order 24, rule 2:-
Application to amend may be made to a judge. Such applications shall be supported by an affidavit with the
proposed amendment attached as an exhibit and may be allowed upon such terms as to costs or otherwise
as may be just.