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Western Steel Works Ltd. & Anor. V. Iron & Steel Workers Union Of Nigeria & Anor (1987) LLJR-SC

Western Steel Works Ltd. & Anor. V. Iron & Steel Workers Union Of Nigeria & Anor (1987)

LawGlobal-Hub Lead Judgment Report

KARIBI-WHYTE, J.S.C.

The only issues argued in this action before Oladipo Williams, J. of the Lagos State High Court relate to the validity of the writ of summons and the jurisdiction of High Court of Lagos State with respect to the subject matter of the action. It seems to me clear from the grounds of appeal before this court that these are the same issues which the appellant is asking this Court to decide.

Before going into the issues, it is pertinent to observe that the subject matter of the action is still outstanding. The decision appealed against in this Court emanated from a ruling of the High Court on appeal to the Court of Appeal whether the writ of summons was competent. and/or whether the Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter.

I think it is necessary for a clear understanding of the issues to state even in outline the history of the litigation now before this Court. The appeal before us is against the judgment of the Court of Appeal. Setting aside the ruling of the High Court which declined the exercise of its jurisdiction in respect of the subject matter of the action, and held that by virtue of Sections 14 and 15 of the Trade Disputes Act, 1976 jurisdiction was vested exclusively in the National Industrial Court.

The facts relied upon by both parties are as set out in the statement of claim of the Plaintiffs. Appellants/Defendants have not filed their statement of defence. The case of the Plaintiffs/Respondents is that they represent the entire members of staff who are employees of the 1st Appellant/Defendant. The 2nd Appellant is the Chairman and Managing Director of the 1st Appellant company.

Plaintiffs/Respondents alleged that the employees of the 1st Appellant company and represented by the Plaintiffs were on the 27th September, 1982 locked out and had been laid off at different times by the 1st Appellant Company (See paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Statement of Claim). Prior to 1982, and on the 16th April, 1981, Representatives of 1st Plaintiffs members and of 1st Defendants/Appellants Union members had entered into an agreement with respect to end of service benefits.

Again, the parties had as between them two existing Collective Agreements in 1979 and 1982 providing for Redundancy Benefit and end of Service Benefits. 1st Appellant in January, 1982, informed Respondents of its plan to lay-off employees owing to shortage of raw materials for production.

In 1982 by several letters Appellants also gave notice to the employees, now represented by Respondents, of the intention to lay them off. The method adopted by the 1st Appellant to do so was communicated in its letter dated 27th July, 1982. On the 31st August, 1982, 2nd Appellant told all the employees of the 1st Appellant Company, represented by the Respondents, that because the possibility of obtaining raw materials was remote, all the employees should leave his employment without redundancy or any other benefits being paid to them. 2nd Appellant refused to honour the agreement to declare the employees redundant, and accordingly 1st and 2nd Respondents declared a trade dispute. The Federal Ministry of Labour intervened on the 13th September, 1982. On the strength of this intervention the 1st Defendant/ Appellant on the 17th September, 1982 entered into an agreement with the Respondents and officials of the Federal Ministry of Labour to bring raw materials within 30 days. 2nd Defendant/Appellant did not honour the terms of this Agreement and on the 27th September, 1982 in breach of the Agreement of the 17th September, 1982 locked out and barred all the employees from entering the premises of the 1st Appellant Company.

The Plaintiffs/Respondents therefore contend that the laying-off and the lock-out of the employees of the 1st Defendant company by the 2nd Defendant was illegal and contrary to the provisions of the Labour Act 1974 and the Trade Disputes Act 1976 respectively. Accordingly on the 22nd December, 1982, an action was brought in the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, claiming as follows:

INDORSEMENTS

“THE PLAINTIFFS’ CLAIM JOINTLY AND/OR SEVERALLY AGAINST:

  1. THE 1ST DEFENDANT IS FOR:

(a) A DECLARATION that the laying off from February to July 1982 by the 1st Defendant of the 1st and 2nd Plaintiffs Union Members employed by the 1st Defendant and numbering about 250 is illegal, wrongful, null and void as being contrary to the Provisions of the Labour Act 1974.

(b) A DECLARATION that the lock out physically and by oral instruction by the 1st Defendant on 31st August, 1982 of the 1st and 2nd Plaintiffs’ Union members employed by the 1st Defendant aforesaid is illegal, null and void as being contrary to both the Labour Act 1974 and the terms and conditions governing the said employment.

(c) A DECLARATION that the employees aforesaid are still in the 1st Defendant’s employment.

(d) PAYMENT to the employees aforesaid their salaries, wages and other entitlements from 1st February 1982 to the date of judgment.

  1. THE 1ST AND 2ND DEFENDANTS JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY:

(a) AN INJUNCTION restraining them from transferring, alienating or paying out for any purpose whatsoever without an order of the Honourable Court any portion or portions of the money in the 1st Defendant’s account or any asset or assets tangible or intangible belonging to the 1st Defendant whether belonging to the 1st Defendant alone or jointly with another pending the final determination of this suit.

(b) An ORDER setting aside any transaction or deal by the 1st AND/OR 2nd Defendants since February 1982 aforesaid assigning, alienating or transferring any tangible or intangible asset or assets of the 1st Defendant to the prejudice of the Plaintiffs’ claim against the 1st Defendant.”

On the 21st September, 1983, after entering conditional appearance, the Defendants applied to set aside the writ of summons and service thereof on the ground that it was incurably defective. I prefer to state the grounds relied upon because it went beyond the reasons given for the application which was a defective writ of summons. They are as follows-

“GROUND FOR THE APPLICATION

  1. That on 8/11/82 when the above Suit came into existence in Lagos Judicial Division, there was still a pending Suit No. ID/512/82 before the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Judicial Division arising from the same cause of action – the purported wrongful dismissal of Union Members by the same defendants in the above Suit.
  2. That the coming into existence of the above Suit is contrary to the express provision and letter of Section 60, Cap. 52, High Court of Lagos Law.
  3. That the plaintiffs claims deal with operation and management of a Limited Company.
  4. That the High Court of Lagos lacks jurisdiction to entertain the Plaintiffs’ Suit.
  5. That jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ Suit has been conferred by Section 7(lc)(1), Federal High Court Act No.13, of 1973.
  6. That the jurisdiction of State High Courts over the plaintiffs’ Suit has been expressly ousted by Section 8(1), Federal High Court Act No.13, 1973 and Section 230(1) and (2). Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979.
  7. That plaintiffs have not paid to the defendants costs awarded nor complied with the order of the High Court of Lagos State delivered at Court No. 10, Ikeja, under Order 23 Rule 4, High Court of Lagos (Civil Procedure) Rules, 1972.
  8. That the second leg of the plaintiffs’ claim. if enforced or entertained, shall result in the winding up of the 1st defendant company – a matter which the Lagos High Court has no jurisdiction to go into.
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AND for such order and/or further orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.” Stricto sensu, apart from (1) and (2), all the other grounds 3-8 do not relate to the validity of the writ issued. They all relate to the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the claim.

After hearing argument on the application, the learned Judge rejected the contention that the writ of summons was incompetent. He held that writ of summons in the present action, that is suit No. LD/1285/82 was issued after suit No. ID/512/82, had been withdrawn, and therefore was issued after suit No. ID/512/82 had been withdrawn and the costs awarded by the court in that case had been paid into Court.

With respect to the jurisdiction of the Court, the learned Judge held that it was clear from the statement of claim and the affidavit of the parties that the matters in issue related entirely to members of a Trade Union and their employer. Accordingly it was not a matter within section 7(1)(e) of the Federal High Court Act, 1973. However, citing and relying on the provisions of sections 14 & 15(1) of the Trade Disputes Act, 1976, the learned Judge held that it was a matter within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court, and therefore declined to assume jurisdiction.

Plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeal on only one ground, and that is, the question of want of jurisdiction in the State High Court. The Defendant/respondent did not cross-appeal but sought on a respondent’s notice to support the decision on the ground of the incompetency of the suit before the High Court. This was a ground urged before the High Court and rejected by the learned trial Judge.

After preliminary procedural skirmishes in which Counsel to the Respondent on the 9th of November, 1984 applied to have the notice of appeal set aside for want of service on the Respondent, and applications to set aside the motion for accelerated hearing and for departure from the rules dated May 15, 1984, which were both rejected and dismissed, the appeal was set down for argument. The only ground of Appeal before the Court of Appeal reads as follows:-

“The learned trial Judge erred in law in striking out the plaintiffs suit on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the action in that it is the National Industrial Court that has jurisdiction.”

“Particulars of Errors:

  1. By virtue of the Trade Dispute Act of 1976 proceedings are initiated by the Commissioner in an Arbitration Tribunal and not the National Industrial Court.
  2. The Trade Disputes Act can only apply where there subsists an employer – employee relationship.
  3. The jurisdiction of the High Court to deal with the matter has not been ousted by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979.”

In a well considered judgment, Nnaemeka-Agu J.C.A., Adenekan Ademola and Uthman Mohammed J.C.A. concurring set aside the judgment of the High Court and held that the State High Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine the action. The Court of Appeal remitted the case to the High Court for trial and determination on the merits. The Respondent appealed to this court against the decision. Only the grounds on jurisdiction and competence appear to have survived the preliminary objection by the Plaintiffs/Respondents to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the grounds of appeal filed were incompetent. The motion by counsel to the appellant dated 18th November, 1985 for leave to appeal on grounds of law and mixed law and fact against the judgment of the Court of Appeal was withdrawn and consequently struck out.

The three grounds of appeal argued before us read:-

(b) The Court of Appeal erred in law in failing to consider a material point of law raised before it – that is, the competence of Appellants’ Writ of Summons dated 8th November, 1982, during the pendency of Appellants’ Suit No. LD/512/82 discontinued 15th November, 1982 before the same Lagos State High Court.

(c) The Court of Appeal erred in law in failing to determine the effect of non-compliance with the order of Lagos State High Court on 15th November, 1982, in Suit No. LD/512/82 by the Appellants.

(f) The Court of Appeal erred in law in holding that the Lagos High Court has jurisdiction to entertain portions of the Appellants’ writ of summons and statement of claim dealing with operational and administrative acts of 1st Respondent as outlined in the Respondents’ brief.

I have omitted the particulars of error to avoid prolixity. All the other grounds of appeal having been abandoned and struck out, only the grounds of appeal relating to validity of the writ of summons and jurisdiction of the courts are relevant. The issues for determination relevant to these grounds are those stated in (a), (b), (c) at page 3 of Appellants’ brief of argument:

(a) Whether Suit No. LD/1285/82 filed on 8/11/82 is competent before the Lagos High Court during the pendency of Suit No. ID/512/82 between the same parties on the same subject matter was pending before the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Judicial Division, 6(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979 (as preserved), which creates one High Court for each State of the Federation.

(b) “Has Lagos State High Court jurisdiction to entertain Suit No. LD/1285/82 as postulated in paragraph 2 of the writ of summons and paragraph 29 of the statement of claim of the Plaintiff/Respondents

(c) Alternatively, are there features in the Writ and Statement of Claim of tbe Plaintiff/Respondents which oust the jurisdiction of the Lagos State High Court in Suit No. LD/1285/82

This formulation of the issues for determination in this Court, raises only two issues namely,

(1) whether the Lagos State High Court had jurisdiction to entertain the subject matter of the writ of summons being one relating to the operation and management of companies.

(2) the competence of the writ of summons before the Court.

Consequently a determination of any of the issues in (b) (c) above would have covered the question on jurisdiction

The main theme of the contention of Mr. Osuala for the appellants was that the Lagos State High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the action. In his argument on ground (f) which has been set out above, he contended that the subject matter of the action as endorsed on the writ of summons and elaborated by the Statement of Claim related to

(a) matters in respect of Management of Companies which by Section 7(1)(c) of the Federal High Court act No. 13 of 1973 was vested exclusively in the Federal High Court, and,

(b) matters related to Trade Unions and Labour which by virtue of sections 14, 15 of the Trade Dispute Act 1976 were vested in the National Industrial Court.

I must observe that the particulars of error in ground (1) relating to jurisdiction did not refer to (b). Accordingly, arguments addressed to us on the issue strictly speaking went to no issue. I therefore, do not intend to consider the submission relating to that issue.

Counsel submitted that the claim for injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd Appellants from dealing with third parties dealt with the operation and Management of Companies. The effect of the claim, if successful, would result in the winding up of the 1st Appellant Company. This was outside the jurisdiction of the State High Court. Counsel cited and relied on sections 7(1)(c) and 8(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 1973, and Sken-Consult v. Sekondi-Ukey (1981) 21 SC. 6 at p.11.

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Counsel referred to the claim in respect of injunction and referred to paragraph 1 of the statement of claim. The injunction claimed, it was submitted was to restrain the 1st Appellants from doing certain things which were not connected with the Management or operation of Companies within section 7(1)(c) of the Federal High Court Act, 1973, Counsel cited and relied upon Sken-Consult v. Sekondi-Ukey (1981) 1 S.C. at p.31. The claim was not one within section 7(1)(c) supra. Counsel however conceded and (submitted that on a proper construction of sections 230(1) of the Constitution, 1979, the Federal High Court Act, 1973 had by reference been incorporated into the Constitution, and was now a provision of the Constitution. Accordingly, section 236 of the Constitution which vests unlimited jurisdiction in the State High Courts operates subject to section 8(1) of the Federal High Court which excluded the jurisdiction of other Courts in respect of the subject matters in section 7(1). It followed therefore on this view, that the State High Court cannot exercise jurisdiction in respect of matters in section 7 of the Federal High Court Act. In any event the subject matter of the claim in this action is not one of such matters. The approach of the respondent is a clear rejection of the thesis of appellants’ Counsel.

In my consideration of the submissions before us, I prefer to deal with the more seductive submission with respect to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. In my opinion a general re-opening of the civil jurisdiction of the Federal High Court is clearly unnecessary and irrelevant for the determination of the issue before the Court.

What was and still is in issue in this appeal is whether “a claim for injunction to restrain a company from alienating or paying out for any purpose whatsoever ….. any portion or portions of the money in the 1st Defendants’ account or any asset or assets tangible or intangible – belonging to the 1st Defendant whether belonging to the 1st Defendant alone or jointly with another or others pending the final settlement of any sums adjudged payable to the ’employees referred to in 2(a) above,” was a claim relating to the Management or operation of Companies. It is well settled that a decision is only authority for what it actually decided.

See Quinn v. Leathem (1901) AC.495. It is also well settled that a Court is only entitled to decide the issue or issues raised on the claim or claims before it. See Obioma & Ors. v. Oloma & Ors. (1978) 3 SC. 1. A Judge has no jurisdiction to decide matters not in issue before him, see Ochonma v. Unosi (1968) NMLR. 321 The primary matters in issue as endorsed in the writ of summons and statement of claim are the declarations concerning the lock-out of members of the 1st Plaintiff Union by the 1st Defendant and a declaration that the respondents were still employees of the 1st Defendant Company.

The claim for injunction is ancillary and subsidiary to the main claim and therefore does not stand alone. Therefore the jurisdiction of the court will be determined by the subject matter of the claim and not the claim relating to the injunction which was an ancillary relief and depends on the primary claim. In Adeyemi & Ors. v. Opeyori (1976) 1 F.N.L.R. 149, the Supreme Court stated the position clearly as follows-

“It is a fundamental principle of Law that it is the claim of the Plaintiff that determines the jurisdiction of the Court which entertains the claim.”

The principles have been lucidly stated by Bairamian F.J. in Madukolu & B Ors. v. Nkemdilim & Ors. (1962) 1 All N.LR, 587 at p. 595. Of the three rules for determining competence and exercise of jurisdiction, stated therein the two quoted below which are as follows are applicable to the appeal before us.

(1) x x x

(2) The subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction and there is no feature in the case which prevents the Court from exercising jurisdiction, and

(3) the case comes before the court initialed by due process of law, and upon fulfillment of any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction.

x x x

The Court of Appeal like the learned trial Judge held that the subject matter of the claim before the Court could not be construed as containing matters affecting the regulation of the operation of Companies incorporated under the Companies Act of 1968. Agreeing with the learned trial Judge the court of Appeal said: at p 123.

“I agree with the learned Judge that there is nothing in the case which the appellants brought to court that could be described as relating to the operation of Companies. The fact that the 1st respondent is a company does not mean that every cause of action in which it is involved must go to the Federal High Court, In fact part of the claim before the Court relates to breach of certain condition of service under which the appellants were employed,”

Mr. Osuala Counsel to the appellant submitted that jurisdiction in respect of the claim was in the Federal High Court because the claim for injunction restraining the appellants from dealing with third parties, if successful, would result in the winding up of 1st appellant and therefore the operation and management of the company which is by section 7(1)(c) and section 8(1) of the Federal High Court Act 1973 within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court .

I agree with the Court of Appeal that the subject matter of the action could not be described as relating to the operation and management of companies. The injunction sought being ancillary did not confer jurisdiction on the Court. The jurisdiction of the court cannot be determined by the effect of a successful claim.

However, what I must point out is the view of the Court of Appeal in this case that “The civil jurisdiction of the Federal High Court was finally settled in the case of Bronik Motors Ltd. v. Wema Bank Limited (1983) 1 S.C.N.L.R. 296 and is to be found in the four corners of Section 7(1) of the Federal High Court (sic) Act No. 13 of 1973, “has been too broadly stated going beyond the claim before the Court in that case. Whereas the civil jurisdiction of the Federal High court is contained in section 7(1) of the Federal High Court Act 1973. Bronik Motors Ltd. v. Wema Bank Ltd. (supra) was not concerned with the determination of any of the subject matters in section 7(1). In fact none of the subject matters was positively relevant to the determination of the claim in that case. The claim in Bronik’s case was for specific performance of an agreement between the parties whereby the defendants promised to execute a legal mortgage in respect of certain specified properties in favour of the Plaintiff to secure various overdrafts amounting to over N2,000,000 made to the defendants in Lagos between 1976 and 1978. There was another claim for the sum of N2,135,095 .57k (Two Million, One Hundred and Thirty-Five Thousand, Ninety-Five Naira and Fifty-Seven Kobo) being balance due to Plaintiffs for the overdrafts granted by the Plaintiff to the 1st Defendant by the Plaintiff’s in the normal course of business at their request and for bank charges, incidental expenses for money due from Defendants, and interest on this sum at the rate of 8% per annum from 1st October, 1979 till final liquidation.

It was obvious from the endorsement on the writ of summons and the pleadings that the claim before the court was in relation to the parties in their ordinary contractual transactions between a banker and its customers, and did not affect banking transactions, with respect to foreign exchange, currency or fiscal measures. The same issue was decided by this Court in Jammal Steel Structures Ltd. v. African Continental Bank Ltd. (1973) 1 All NLR. (p.611) 208, and was there held not within section 7(1)(b)(iii) of the Federal High Court Act, 1973.Bronik’s case was therefore on its facts covered and governed by the Jammal case, and is not in any way within the provisions of S.7 of the Federal High Court Act, 1973.

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As I have already pointed out in this judgment, that the claim in this case is clearly different from the Jammal and Bronik cases, the ratio decidendi of those cases therefore, do not constitute binding judicial authority in respect of this case. The only common factor between the Jammal and Bronik cases and the appeal before us is that the subject matter of the claim in all the cases do not come within the provisions of section 7(1) of the Federal High Court Act No. 13 of 1973. Since the subject matter of the claim in the Jammal and Bronik cases do not fall within the provisions of section 7(1)(b)(iii), and will be juridically appropriate to limit their bindingness to decisions not relating to such matters in S.7(1)(b)(iii) not within the provisions of the Act. They clearly were not intended, and could not be correctly regarded as having decided the plenitude of the civil jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as prescribed in section 7(1) of the Federal High Court Act.

It is conceded that the unanimous judgment of this court in Bronik’s case is entitled to very great respect. Especially relevant are the views expressed on the entire scope of the civil jurisdiction of the Federal High Court which covered the other subject matters in section 7(1), I do not think the facts of this appeal, concerned with different matters, fall within any of the opinions so expressed. This ground of appeal therefore fails.

I now turn to consider the issue of the validity of the writ of summons seriously canvassed by the Appellants in this appeal. The grounds of appeal relied upon state as follows –

“Ground (a):

The Court of Appeal erred in law in failing to consider a material point of law raised before it – that is, the competence of Appellants’ writ of summons dated 8th November, 1982, during the pendency of Appellants Suit No. LD/512/82 discontinued on 15th November, 1982 before the same Lagos State High Court.”

“Ground (c):

The Court of Appeal erred in law in failing to determine the effect of non-compliance with the order of Lagos State High Court on 15th November, 1982, in Suit No. LD/512/82 by the Appellants.”

I have reproduced the grounds of appeal without their particulars of error As the grounds of appeal covered the same error so the particulars of error. The gravamen of these grounds of appeal is that by filing another writ of summons which became suit No. LD/1285/82 on the 8th November, 1982 during the pendency of suit No. LD/512/82 with respect to the same claim, the latter writ in suit No. LD/1285/82 was therefore incompetent. Another alleged ground of incompetence of the writ of summons in LD/1285/82 was that the order of court awarding costs in the action LD/512/82 had not been complied with at the filing of the writ in suit No. LD/1285/82. Counsel submitted that although the costs awarded was paid into court there was no order directing payment of the costs into court. Counsel relied on section 60 of the High Court of Lagos Law, Cap 52 which prohibits concurrent suits with the same subject matter between parties before two Judges of the High Court.

It is pertinent to observe that because the Judgment was in favour of the Appellant in the Court of trial, there was no appeal to the Court of Appeal against the finding of the judgment of that court that suit No. LD/1285/82 was filed after suit No. LD/512/82 had been withdrawn and the costs awarded against the Plaintiff for withdrawing the action had been paid. Appellant only filed a Respondents’ notice, instead of a cross-appeal against the judgment. It is important to observe that the effect of a reversal of the finding of the learned Judge is to dismiss the appeal on a ground of fact found against the respondent in the court of trial. In such a circumstance, the principles governing have been outlined in Lagos City Council v. Ajayi (1976) 1 ALL NLR.291 at pp.295-6, it was held

(a) Where a respondent wishes to contest a different issue or cause of action different from the one raised by the appeal served on him, or a reversal of an adverse finding, he can only do so by notice of appeal and not a respondent’s notice – see National Society for the Distribution of Electricity, etc. v. Gibbs (19002 CB .280,287.

(b) A respondent’s notice is only available to vary and retain the judgment and not its reversal. The Court of Appeal was therefore right to ignore the respondents’ notice filed for the reversal of the finding of fact in the court of trial.

It is clear on the record of proceedings and accepted by the Court of Appeal that suit No. LD/512/82 had been discontinued before suit No. LD/1285/82 was filed, and that costs awarded in LD/512/82 was paid into court on the 15th November, 1982, and the suit LD/1285/82 was filed on the 16th November, 1982, I agree entirely with the submission of Mr. Ogunde. These are concurrent findings of facts in two courts below which cannot be now reopened in this court except exceptional reasons were shown – See Lamai v. Orbih (1980) 5-7 SC.28, Chinwendu v. Mbamali (1980) 3-4 S.C. 31. These grounds of appeal accordingly fail and are hereby dismissed.

All the grounds of appeal argued having failed, the appeal is hereby dismissed.

I shall therefore, award costs assessed at N300 to the Respondents.

ANIAGOLU, J.S.C.:(Presiding): I have been privileged to read in draft the judgment just delivered by my learned brother, Karibi-Whyte, J.S.C., and I agree with him that the appeal should be dismissed, and is hereby dismissed, with N300.00 costs to the Respondents. I agree that the writ was validly instituted and that the payment into court of the costs awarded, following the striking out of LD/512/82 after it was discontinued, satisfied the order made by the trial Judge.

The issue of jurisdiction raised has now been largely settled by the latest decision of this Court in SC.139/1985 SAVANNAH BANK OF NIGERIA v. PAN ATLANTIC SHIPPING AND TRANSPORT LTD And NICANNAH FOOD COMPANY LTD., delivered on 30th January, 1987, in which this Court held that with the inception of the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 236 thereof, which gave unlimited jurisdiction to the State High Court has conferred jurisdiction in Admiralty upon State High Courts, thereby making jurisdiction in Admiralty concurrent in the Federal High Court and the State High Courts.

It was also held that by reason of the inconsistency of the provisions of section 8(1) of the Federal High court Act with the said section 236, the said section 8(1) of the Federal High Court Act was void.


SC.225/1985

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