WHETHER LITIGANT CAN RELY ON THE ERROR OR BLUNDER OF THEIR OWN COUNSEL
Saheed Afeez Ayinde
The learned Panel in this case had beautifully differentiate and clarified the length of the effect of legal representation.
The counsel in this case had pleaded before the court not to struck out their appeal on the ground of the former counsel’s error and that Counsel’s error should not affect the interest of their client’s.
However, the scored was settled as aptly amplified by
sir EJEMBI EKO, J.S.C.:
In, ALI ALABA INTERNATIONAL & ANOR V. SKYE BANK PLC lor 6:7:2018 sc
The appellants did not heed to this time-table provided by the Rules of the lower Court. The only anchor they fasten their argument on, for this appeal, is that the error or blunder of their counsel should not be visited on them. I ask: who engaged the said counsel for them? Is it enough for the appellants to blame the counsel of their own choice without going further to show the efforts they made, themselves, to follow up and ensure that their counsel dutifully carried out their instructions to appeal and file brief of argument in time?
From JESUS UNION KINGDOM v. OGISI (2010) 4 NWLR (pt. 1189) 91 at 102; AKINRIBOYA v. AKINSOLE (1998) 3 NWLR (pt. 540), 101 at 177; UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS v. AIGORO (1985) 11 SC 152; (1985) 1 NWLR (pt. 1) 143; AHMADU v. SALAWU (1974) 11 SC 43,
I should think that a time has come for defaulting litigants, relying on error or blunders of their counsel, to be told, and I hereby tell the appellants herein, that it is not enough for them to rely on the error or blunder of the counsel of their own choice, when they are in default of statutorily prescribed time-table for taking steps in litigation; they must show what efforts they made themselves to follow up on the counsel in order that their counsel carried out their instructions within the time prescribed.
The rules of the Court must, prima facie be obeyed and/or complied with: RATNAM v. CUMMARASAMY, (1964) 3 ALL ER 933 at 935: (1965) 1 WLR 8; cited with approval in WILLIAMS v. HOPE RISING VOLUNTARY FUND SOCIETY (1982) 1 2 SC 145 at 152 153; J.|.C v. R.L IMPORT& EXPORT (1988) 7 SCNJ 93 at 106.
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