An Appeal Dismissed for Appellant’s Failure to File Brief of Argument cannot be Relisted

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ALI ALABA INT’L LTD & ANOR V. STERLING BANK (2018) LPELR-44903(SC)

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on relisting of appeal dismissed for failure of appellant to file brief of argument.

FACTS:
This appeal is against the Ruling of the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal dismissing appellants’ appeal against the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State.

The respondent filed an action at the trial Court, against the appellants, for recovery of the sum of Thirty two million, six hundred and forty-four thousand, nine hundred and thirty two naira, twenty kobo (#32,644,932.20k), which was a sum arising from credit facilities granted to the appellants. The appellants admitted owing the respondent the sum of twenty nine million, eight hundred and seventy five thousand naira, thirty-two kobo only (#29,872,075:32k) with accrued interest. Based on that admission, the trial Court entered judgment against the appellants in favour of the respondent/plaintiff. Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial Court, the appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal.

After entering their appeal, the appellants became lackadaisical by not filing their brief of argument. Thereupon, the Court of Appeal invoked the provisions of Order 6 Rule 10 of the Court of Appeal Rules 1981 and dismissed the appellants’ appeal. On 16th December, 2005, the appellants filed an application at the Court of Appeal, for relisting of the appeal which was earlier dismissed, and also applied for extension of time within which to file their brief of argument. Those applications were later withdrawn and struck out. The appellant briefed a new counsel who filed an application at the Court of Appeal, seeking an order for extension of time to appeal against the decision of Court of Appeal, dismissing the appellants’ appeal and also seeking extension of time to file their Notice of appeal. The application was granted by the Court of Appeal. Appellant’s appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUE(S) FOR DETERMINATION:

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The issue for determination was:

“Whether the Appellants’ appeal having been dismissed under the relevant rule of Court by the Court below can be relisted.”

DECISION/HELD: 
On the whole, the appeal was dismissed.

RATIO DECIDENDI

  • APPEAL – RELISTING OF APPEAL – Whether an appeal dismissed under the Court of Appeal Rules for failure of the appellant to file brief of argument can be relisted
  • APPEAL – DISMISSAL OF APPEAL – Effect of an appeal that is dismissed for want of prosecution due to the failure of appellant to file his brief of argument
  • APPEAL – RELISTING OF APPEAL – Whether an appeal dismissed under the Court of Appeal Rules for failure of the appellant to file brief of argument can be relisted

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