MODES OF COMPELLING ATTENDANCE OF A WITNESS IN NIGERIA

USE OF SUBPOENA AND WITNESS SUMMONS 

ORDER 38 RULE 29 – 31 ABUJA

ORDER 32 RULES 16 LAGOS HCCPR 2012 

 

A subpoena is a process used to compel a person to attend a trial and give testimony or tender documents or both-BUHARI V.OBASANJO

 

USES OF SUBPOENA

A party in an action may by subpoena require the attendance of any witness before an offer of the court or the person appointed to take the examination, for the purpose of using his evidence on any proceeding in the cause or mater in like manner as such witness would be bound to attend and be examined at the hearing or trial. 

 

O. 38 OR 29 ABUJA 

INEC V. ACTION CONGRESS 

 

TYPES OF SUBPOENA 

a. SUBPOENA AD TESTIFICANDUM

it compels a witness to appear before the court and give evidence orally. He will be cross examined. 

b. SUBPOENA DEUCES TECUM

Compels a witness to produce a document in his custody relevant to the trial. He does not become a witness strictu  sensu and cannot be cross examined. S. 218 & 219 EA.

HESKY V. MAGAJI (2009) ALL FWLR 

AKOMO V. NIG ARMY (2000) PT 28 

 

S. 243 EVIDENCE ACT 2011 

The Minister or Governor may object to the production of document or request the exclusion of oral evidence where in his opinion it is against public interest. 

The court has the discretion to uphold objection or not. 

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUBPOENA AND WITNESS SUMMONS 

A subpoena can only be issued by superior courts. 
A witness summons can be issued by inferior courts as well as superior courts. 

USES 

a. Subpoena is used for oral evidence to be adduced before the court 
b. For documents to be produced 

 

PROCEDURE 

1. In Abuja, fill FORM 86 in the appendix containing the name or form and the place of business or residence of the legal practitioner intending to issue out the subpoena O. 38 r. 34. 
2. Pay the necessary court fees (including fee for service) 
3. Service of the subpoena on the person 
4. Where the witness refuses to comply with the summons, such refusal is to be noted down. 0.38 r 30 s

NOTE-Subpoena for attendance of a witness for proceedings in Judge’s chambers, that subpoena shall issue from the Registry upon a note from the Judge. 

 

SERVICE OF SUBPOENA

MODE OF SERVICE is primarily by PERSONAL SERVICE UNLESS SUBSTITUTED SERVICE has been ordered by the court –

O.38 r. 38. 

 

LIFESPAN OF SUBPOENA

A subpoena shall remain in force from the date of issue until the conclusion of the trial of the mater in which it is issued O.38 r 39. 

IN LAGOS 

2. Fill FORM 26 containing name or firm and place of business or residence of Legal Practitioner intending to issue out the subpoena. 
3. Deliver and file the Form at the Registry 
4. Pay all court fees ORDER 32 RULE 20. 

Where a subpoena is required for attendance of a witness for proceedings in Chambers, such subpoena shall issue from Registry upon the Judge’s directive O. 32 r 22 Lagos.

 

CORRECTION OF ERRORS IN SUBPOENA 

0.32 R 23. 

A SUBPOENA SHALL be served personally unless substituted service has been ordered by a Judge. O.32 r 24.

A subpoena shall be in one of Form 27, 28, or 29 with such variations as circumstances may require O.32 r. 21 Lagos.

PLEASE NOTE

There is one unique thing in the Lagos rules on this subject 

• The Court may mandate the appearance of any person for the purpose of producing any writing or document, without using the word subpoena O.32 r 9.

Disobedience to attend for examination or production of any document shall be in CONTEMPT OF COURT AND MAY BE DEALT WITH ACCORDINGLY O.32 OR 10 LAGOS. 

NOTE THE FOLLOWING 

1. A subpoena deuces tecum et ad testificandum is used to compel a party to produce document and to testify orally. 
2. A subpoena simpliciter but which expressly provides that the party address is to produce document and give oral evidence, would be held to be subpoena deuces tecum aet ad testificandum
3. The money to be paid by the person applying for the subpoena in addition to the fee paid for issuing the subpoena is called CONDUCT MONEY-O.38 R 34(2) ABUJA

 

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