Re-adoption of written addresses does not re-open the computation of the period within which judgment is to be delivered by Patrick Etim Esq
RE-ADOPTION OF WRITTEN ADDRESSES DOES NOT RE-OPEN THE COMPUTATION OF THE PERIOD WITHIN WHICH JUDGMENT
IS TO BE DELIVERED
IDOWU & ORS v. SEGUN KOYA INVESTMENTS LTD (2017)
PRACTICE AREA: CIVIL PROCEDURE
Section 294 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) mandates Courts to deliver its decision in writing not later than ninety days after the conclusion of evidence and final addresses. Unfortunately, not all judgments are delivered within this time frame due to one reason or the other.
Over the years, where judgment is to be given outside the stipulated time, the Courts have adopted a practice of asking parties to re-adopt their written addresses before judgment is delivered. This is in a bid to cover up for the time-lag. But how plausible or effective is this practice?
This was the issue that bedeviled the judgment leading to this extant appeal.
The Court of Appeal Per NIMPAR, J.C.A. noted that “[t]he order of the lower Court for the parties to re-adopt their addresses seems to have been directed at avoiding the consequences of non-compliance with the stipulations of Section 294(1) of the Constitution”. He went further to say that the re-adoption of addresses “does not have the consequence of re-opening the computation of the period within which judgment is to be delivered.” Explaining the rationale for this position, the Honourable Justice said “… re-adoption simpliciter without addition of any fresh points of law on which the Court needs clarification is a facade and would not serve to have the computation of time for delivery of judgment to start afresh from the date of the re-adoption.”
On the proper approach, NIMPAR, J.C.A. advised that “Trial Courts should embrace case management regime in handling cases and stop hiding behind Section 294(5) to deliver judgments after 90 days. With the new dispensation of training of judges on case management skills by the National Judicial Institute, judges should avoid the practice of recalling parties to readopt.”