TYPES OF JUDGMENT THAT CAN BE DELIVERED IN A NIGERIAN COURT


1.INTERLOCUTORY JUDGMENT 

An interlocutory judgment disposes of an issue in the course of the proceedings: Omonuwa v Oshodi It does not dispose of the rights of the parties finally e.g. an order of consoldation, an order of retrial, an order striking out a suit with leave to relist.

 

2.FINAL JUDGMENT 

A final judgment is one that disposes of the rights and liabilities of the parties finally in a suit: Gomwalk v Okosa It comes at the end of the matter. At the end of the trial, the judge may either give judgment for the plaintiff or dismiss his case thereby giving judgment for the defendant. 

 

NOTE that a ruling on jurisdiction may either be final or intelocutory. It is a final jjudgment when the court rules that it does not have jurisdiction over the matter. It is interlocutory when the court rules that it has jurisdiction and continues with the trial.

 

THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN FINALJUDGMENT AND INTERLOCUTORYJUDGMENT.

For final judgment, a party has to appeal against the decision WITHIN 3 MONTHS(Civil) or 90 days (Criminal) of its delivery; S. 25 (2) Court of Appeal Act while for interlocutory judgment; a party has 14 days to appeal against it.

Appeals lie from final judgments as of right for decisions of High Court as Courts of 1st instance: Section 241(1)(a).  Interlocutory judgments can only be appealed as of right if it is on points of law only. 

 

3.CONSENT JUDGMENT

• A consent judgment is judgment entered pursuant to an agreement between the parties: Woluchem v Wokama
• The agreement may either be made out of court; then the terms of settlement are brought for court to pronounce it as judgment; or may be entered in the face of court pursuant to parties agreement.
• A consent judgment cannot be set aside except on appeal. However, the court that delivered the consent judment may set it aside on grouds of FRAUD, NON-SERVICE OR LACK OF JURISDICTION: UTC Nig Ltd v Pamotei. In proving fraud for the purpose of setting aside a judgment, a new action should be commenced by writ of summons.
• It is binding on the parties but a third party can apply to set it aside for FRAUD; MUTUAL MISTAKE
• A consent judgment is a final judgment and leave of Court is required to appeal against it S. 241(2) CFRN AFEGBAI V. AG EDOSTATE.  

 

NOTE;

• The consent of the DEFENDANT is to be given by his legal Practitioner or agent before any consent judgment may be entered.

0.35 R. 6 LAGOS.

• Where not represented by counsel, the defendant must appear in court and give his consent in open court.

0.35 R. 7 LAGOS

 

4.DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

A declaratory judgment is a judgment of a court which determines the rights of parties without ordering anything to be done or awarding damages. If the judgment is merely declaratory with no consequetial orders, the law is that it cannot be enforced or stayed.

 

5.DEFAULT JUDGMENT

This is a judgment given due to default or failure of a part in the proceedings to take any steps which he ought to have taken e.g. default to enter appearance or default to file pleadings 

A default judgment is a final judgment, but since it is not a judgment on the merit, it can be set aside: Fointrade v Universal Ltd. A JUDGMENT ON THE MERIT is a judgment given after the case has been argued and the court has decided which party is right or wrong. 

 

NOTE that in Lagos, a default judgment can only be set aside on grounds of fraud, non-service or want of jurisdiction: Or 20 r 12 Lag; William v Hoperising & Voluntary Fund Society

 

To  set aside a default judgment the applicant should show that

a. the reasons for the default

b. there was no undue delay in bringing the application

c. the application is not prejudicial to the judgment creditor

d. The court will also consider the conduct of the applicant

 

6.NON-SUIT

This is an order which terminates the plaintiff’s case without a decision on the merits.  A non-suit is order where neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is entitled to the judgment of the court: Omoregbe v Lawani. The order of non-suit is a final decision, although the matter can be recommenced.

-KAURA v. UBA

NB=> 

The power of a court to enter a non-suit is not inherent in the court rather must be expressly conferred by statute IBIYEM v. FBN Plc. The High Court in Abuja cannot order a non-suit since it is not provided in the Abuja Rules. It is provided in 0.34 r. 1 Lagos. The court must invite arguments from both parties before making an order of non-suit- Or 34 Lag; Okoebor v Police Council.

 

WHEN SHOULD NON SUIT BE ENTERED

Non-suit is appropriate where there is no satisfactory evidence enabling the court to give judgment to either of the parties. 

It should only be made where dismissal of the case will work hardship on the plaintiff and the non-suit will not result to injustice on the defendant.

 

EFFECT OF ENTERING AN ORDER OF NON SUIT

It allows the plaintiff the opportunity to bring the same action against the defendant without the dft being able to plead res judicata.

=> It is of the same effect as an order striking out a case

The order of non-suit is not a final decision and can be appealed against.

 

7. EXECUTORY JUDGMENT

Judgment to be levied if certain things are not done or done: Okoya v Santili. It can be excuted or stayed. Payment of damages and vacatio of premises are examples of executory judments.

 

8. DISMISSAL AND STRIKING OUT

An order of dismissal is a judment on the merits of the case and the court becomes functus officio and it can only be challenged by way of an appeal. 

 

Striking out proceeds where the court has not heard the merits of the case. In this case, the judgment is based on technicalities and can be recommenced: Olapejo v Ajagungbaje.

 

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