As much as a party has a right to sue another to claim his right(s), so also any of such party has a right to appeal the decision therefrom either as an appeal on the final decision of the court or an interlocutory appeal wherein the rights of the parties in the case have not been finally determined.
In determining the kind of decision a court has made, that is_ either interlocutory or a final decision, recourse is always first made to the principle of the-nature-of-the-order test. The Court of Appeal in the case of DANGOTE CEMENT PLC v. ODO (2020) 34 WRN CA 22 amplifies this principle. For a better understanding, a brief summary of the case would be important.
In the trial court, a default judgment was entered in favour of the Respondent and against the Appellant. The Appellant, getting to know about the judgment, filed an Application to set aside the said default judgment. The trial court upon hearing the application and the arguments of the parties made a Ruling accordingly in which the court refused to grant the said Application. Being dissatisfied with the Ruling, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. In an attempt to clarify the impression by one of the parties that the present appeal ensued from an interlocutory decision, the Court of Appeal adopted the dictum of C.C. Nweze, JSC in the case of Ekemezie v. Ifeanacho (2019) LPELR-46518 SC page 27 as follows:
The principle is that a decision is final where the dispute between the parties has been completely brought to an end or where the decision has finally disposed of the rights of the parties in a matter otherwise, it would be interlocutory.
Thus, the default judgment by the trial court in favour of the Respondent is a final decision of the court and not an interlocutory one.
Join us as we bring to you our maiden Litigaship Webinar Series and as we celebrate J.S. Okutepa, SAN’s 10th anniversary as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. J.S. OKutepa SAN is a legal mammoth in Pre and Post-election matters, Criminal litigation, Civil ligation, Constitutional law, Commercial law practice, to mention but a few. He is a highly respected authority and conference speaker particularly on Criminal procedures in Nigeria Courts, Litigation, and ethics.
Date: 16th October, 2021
- Wale Adeagbo, Esq LLB BL (AICMC)
Litigation and Dispute Resolution Attorney.