Interpretation Of Statutes

1. How to determine whether there has been an admission by a defendant to
justify judgment for the plaintiff under rule 3 Order 30 Kano State High Court
(Civil Procedure) Rules 1988.
“It is necessary to observe that r. 3 of Or. 30 of the Kano State High Court (Civil
Procedure) Rules 1988 should not be read in isolation. It is certainly not difficult at all
for any trial Judge to determine whether or not there had been an admission by a
defendant in any given case to justify entering judgment for the plaintiff under r. 3.
This is because rs. l & 2 of Or. 30 have already given the circumstances under which
admissions could be made in the course of a trial. By r. 1, an admission is made by a
party by giving notice to that effect by his pleading or otherwise in writing that he
admits the truth of the whole or any part of the case of the other party. An admission
is also made under r. 2 through leave of Court obtained in a motion on notice by one
party calling on the other party to admit any document or fact. In the present case, it
is obvious that the alleged admission made by the appellants is contained in their
statement of defence. However, it is quite plain that the appellants neither gave a
notice in that statement of defence that they admitted he truth of the whole of the
case of the 1st respondent nor gave notice admitting that part of the claim of the 1st in
respect of which judgment was entered trial Judge. Therefore it is not difficult to see
that there was virtually no admission in terms of rules 1 & 2 to warrant any judgment
based on the admission under rule 3 of the Rules.” - Per Mohammed, J.C.A. in
Kenlink Holdings Ltd & anor. v. R.E. Invest Ltd. anor. Suit No. CA/K/86/93;
(1997) 11 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 529) 438 at 449.
2. Actions barred after certain period of six years under Section 4(1) Limita-
tion Law of Bendel State.
(1) “Section 4(1) of the applicable Limitation Law of Bendel State, provides inter
alia, that actions founded on simple contract or on tort “shall not be brought after
the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued”. The
provision is mandatory. In other words, it would be enforced once the facts establish
that the action in question come within the purview of the provision both in nature and
timing. It is not a pre-condition for enforcing the provision that the law must be
pleaded. It is therefore a misconception of the law to say that the provision must be
pleaded before it could be enforced. I am of the view that since the provision of the
law touches on jurisdiction, it could be raised at any stage.” - Per Akintan, J.C.A. in
Amata v. Omofuma & anor. Suit No. CA/B/195/92; (1997) 2 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 485) 93
at 116.
Acceptance of sum paid Paras. 1, 2
(2) “With the statement of claim as amended, filed in the case giving rise to this
appeal and the writ of summons before me, one would be divorcing oneself from
reality and facts to ever conceive by any construction, a recovery of any land from
any person or persons let alone the respondents qua defendants. The claim of the
appellant was founded on the tort of trespass to land as indicated above. It is borne
out clearly by the writ and the pleadings filed by the plaintiff. I have no difficulty
whatsoever holding, with due respect to the learned counsel for the appellant, that the
submission based and founded on S.6(2) of the law is too far fetched. It is unaccept-
able. I have not, therefore, accepted it. I have rejected it accordingly, as wholly
irrelevant. Any attempt to rely on Section 6(2) of the law, I think, respectfully, was an
attempt to get, “ab asino lanam” - wool from an ass. Looking at the writ and the
statement of claim as amended, filed by the appellant qua plaintiff at the trial, she
saw the 1st defendant and the 4th defendant, herein the respondents on her land
between June and July, 1975. (ii) The respondents were on the appellant’s land
without her permission, leave or consent. (iii) The respondents thereon were clear-
ing bulldozing some portions of the appellant’s land of which land she (the appellant)
was in peaceable possession. (iv) The appellant passively watched the respondent do
all these things on her land. (v) She woke up only in 1983 to sue the respondents for
damages in trespass - to be precise on the 1/2/83.” - Per Nsofor, J.C.A. in Amata v.
Omofuma & Ors. Suit No. CA/B/195/92; (1997) 2 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 485) 93 at 114 -
3. Interpretation of the mode of exercise of admiralty jurisdiction of the
Federal High Court under the Admiralty Jurisdiction Decree.
“It is obvious therefore that Section 5(4)(a) of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act, 1991,
does not raise a jurisdictional issue but only a procedural matter. At the highest, a
person who considers that the facts in a given situation do not justify the issuance of
a writ in rem can react by raising a legal defence contending that the ship against
which a writ in rem has been issued is not a proper party to the suit. This does not
confer a right to challenge the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court because the
relevant provisions of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act, 1991, confer jurisdiction on the
Federal High Court for claims under Section 2 of the Act either under an action in
personam or one in rem. Were the defendants right to raise what was a mere legal
defence by the procedure they adopted before the lower Court? I think not. The
defendants filed copious affidavit evidence before the lower Court disputing issues of
fact.” - Per Oguntade, J.C.A. in Tigris Intl. Corp. v. Ege Shipping & Trading Ind.
Inc. & Ors. Suit No. CA/l/530/97; (1999) 6 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 608) 701 at 718.
4. Effect of amendment of a statute.
(1) “In my view, notwithstanding that amendments were made to the Act by a De-
cree, the effect of the Decree No. 21 is to write the amended paragraphs into the
3 Amendment of statutes Paras. 4-6
Act: Once the Decree has taken effect and the amendments have been effected, the
inserted provisions become part of the Act and their validity has to be determined as
provisions of an Act.” - Per Ayoola, J.C.A. in Williams & Ors. v. Akintunde & Ors.
Suit No. CA/L/161/93; (1995) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 381) 101 at 112.
(2) “In principle what is the effect of amendment of any law? An amendment of an
older enactment by way of inserting a new proviso does not make the principal law a
new one. It can be, likened to an old cloth in which a new piece of material has been
added to a patch of it to strengthen the older fabric. On the totality, it is still an old
cloth. By the same token the mere inserting of new Section 23A does not change the
character of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1976 by making it a new enactment as to
make it a Decree. That being the case if a proviso so contained in it is inconsistent
with the provision of what remains of the Constitution, then to the extent of that
inconsistency, that new patch of provision is of no effect.” - Per Acholonu, J.C.A. in
Williams & Ors. v. Akintunde & Ors. Suit No. CA/L/161/93; (1995) 3 N.W.L.R.
(Pt. 381) 101 at 114.
5. Constitutionality of appeals from interlocutory orders and decisions un-
der Section 15(1) and (2) of the Court of Appeal Act.
“The conclusion to be arrived at is that the applicant could appeal as of right against
the ex-parte order made by Mamman Kolo J on 3/9/97 and that the said right of
appeal is not inhibited or in anyway impaired by Section 15(1) and 15(2) of the Court
of Appeal Act and Order 33 rule 11 of the Federal High Court Rules.” – Per Oguntade,
J.C.A. in Elenwoke v. Obi & Ors. Suit No CA/J/137M/97; (1998) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt.
542) 474 at 481.
6. Applications must be made to the trial Court under Order 3 rule 3(4) of
the Court of Appeal Rules 1981.
“It would appear to me that by the correct interpretation of Order 3 rule 3(4) Court of
Appeal Rules which provides: - “Where under these Rules an application may be
made either to the Court below or to the Court, it shall not be made in the first
instance to the Court except where there are special circumstances which make it
impossible or impracticable to apply to the Court below” an application for bail ought
to be made first to the Court of trial. Special circumstances will have to be shown for
bringing an application in the first instance to the Court of Appeal. The words “where
under these Rules” can only be interpreted by ignoring “under these Rules” since the
Rules; in my respectful view have not provided for the bringing of applications both in
the Court below and in the Court of Appeal. Applications for bail, stay of execution,
stay of proceedings, etc are provided for either in specific Acts or Laws or under the
inherent jurisdiction of the Courts. In my respectful view, therefore, in order to avoid
absurdity, I would interprete Order 3 rule 3(4) as meaning: - “Wherever an applica-
tion may be made either to the Court below or to the Court of Appeal it shall not be

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