Hilario Campos V. Omolara Martins (1934)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Case referred and refer. ee’s remuneration fixed—case settled out of Case Court and subsequently struck out—application for refund of stated by referee’s fees struck out—motion to set aside or vary order of Judge of reference—opinion of Court sought. Supreme Court.
Held : Court cannot review interlocutory order after final judgment. The facts of this case are sufficiently set out in the opinion.
0. Alakija for Plaintiff.
W. Wells-Palmer for Defendant.
The following joint Opinion was delivered :—
BUTLER-LLOYD, ACTING C.J., NIGERIA, AITKEN in BARTON, JJ.
This is a case stated by Graham Paul, J. for the opinion of this Court.
The relevant facts are as follows:
On 26th April, 1934, an order was made by consent of the parties referring the case to a referee whose remuneration was fixed at ten guineas, five to be paid by each side.
This sum was paid to the referee shortly afterwards.
The parties having composed their differences informed the Court that the case was settled, and it was struck out on October 1st, 1934.
On 21st March, 1935, the plaintiff filed a motion for an order to the referee to refund the five guineas paid by him but this motion was dismissed on the ground that the order under which the payment was made still stood.
On the 1st April, 1935, the present motion was filed to set aside or vary the order of reference. Notice of the motion was given to the referee.
The learned trial Judge after hearing argument did not in terms review the order of reference, but indicated that he considered he ought to do so and order the referee to file particulars of the work done in order that a proper remuneration might be fixed by the Court, leaving the parties to recover any excess by action.
An interesting point was raised as to whether the relationship between a referee and the parties is an ordinary contractual one or whether the referee is to be regarded as a officer of the Court.
We think there is much to be said for the latter view, but his position as such would surely terminate when the suit was finally disposed of.
Whatever view be taken as to this, we are of opinion that it is not competent for a Court to review an interlocutory order made in the course of a case when once final judgment has been given.
In our opinion the motion for review ought to be dismissed.
The referee will have costs in this Court assessed at seven guineas.