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Regd. Trustees of the Diocese of Aba v. Nkume

PRINCE EMEAGWARA UCHE

( By substitution )

V

DIKE W. OBINYA

OBUNWA OBINYA

( The Administrators of the Estate of William Wachukwu Obinya, Deceased)

COURT OF APPEAL

( PORT HARCOURT DIVISION )

JAMES OGENYI OGEBE, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Ruling )

IGNATIUS CHUKWUDI PATS-ACHOLONU, JCA

ABOYI JOHN IKONGBEH, JCA

CA/E/255/88

THURSDAY, 21ST JUNE, 2001

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Opportunities to present case - Constitutional basis of - Section 33, Constitution, 1979

COURT - Adjournment - Application for - Where refused - What court must do thereafter - Effect of failure to invite a party to proceed with the case after refusing his application for adjournment

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Adjournment - Order refusing application for - What court must do thereafter- Effect of failure to invite a party to proceed with the case after refusing his application for adjournment

PARTIES - Opportunities to present case - Constitutional basis of - Section 33 , Constitution,  1979

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Adjournment - Application for - Where refused - What court must do thereafter - Effect of failure to invite a party to proceed with the case after refusing 

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Adjournment - Order refusing application for - What court must do thereafter - Effect of failure to invite a party to proceed with the case after refusing his application for adjournment

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Parties - Opportunities to present case -  Constitutional basis of

Issue:

Whether the trial Judge proceeded in accordance with the rules of natural justice of audi alteram partem when he refused the appellant’s application for adjournment and proceeded to hear and rule upon respondent’s application without inviting the appellant to participate in the proceedings.

Facts:

This is an interlocutory appeal against the ruling of the trial Judge. The respondents commenced this action as administrators of the estate of William Nwachukwu Obinya (deceased) seeking declaration of title to a landed property, injunction, and order for accounts against the appellant as defendant. The appellant filed a preliminary objection to the suit based on locus standi. The preliminary objection was heard and overruled. Thereafter the trial Judge called upon the plaintiffs to move their motion for interlocutory injunction pending before the court. After the plaintiffs had moved the motion, the defendant asked for adjournment to enable him appeal against the court’s ruling on the preliminary objection to the suit. The trial Judge refused the application for adjournment and without more proceeded to give a ruling on the plaintiffs’ motion for injunction.

Dissatisfied with the proceedings and the orders made, the defendant has filed this appeal.