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Application of native laws and customs.
The Governor to make certain provisions.
and transference of Judges.
tions as shall seem just, all such remedies or relief whatsoever, interlocutory or final, as any of the parties thereto may appear to be entitled to in respect of any and every legal or equitable claim or defence properly brought forward by them respectively, or which shall appear in such cause or matter; so that as far as possible all matters in controversy between the said parties respectively may be completely and finally determined, and all multiplicity of legal proceedings concerning any of such matters avoided; and in all matters in which there is any conflict or variance between the rules of Equity and the rules of the Common Law with reference to the same matter the rules of Equity shall prevail. (4 of 1876, s. 18.)
19. Nothing in this Ordinance shall deprive the Supreme Court of the right to observe and enforce the observance, or shall deprive any person of the benefit, of any law or custom existing in the said Colony and Protectorate subject to its jurisdiction, such law or custom not being repugnant to natural justice, equity, and good conscience, nor incompatible either directly or by necessary implication with any enactment of the Colonial Legislature existing at the commencement of this Ordinance, or which may afterwards come into operation. Such laws and customs shall be deemed applicable in causes and matters where the parties thereto are natives of the said Colony or Protectorate, and particularly, but without derogating from their application in other cases, in causes and matters relating to marriage and to the tenure and transfer of real and personal property, and to inheritance and testamentary dispositions, and also in causes and matters between Natives and Europeans where it may appear to the Court that substantial injustice would be done to either party by a strict adherence to the rules of English law. No party shall be entitled to claim the benefit of any local law or custom, if it shall appear either from express contract or from the nature of the transactions out of which any suit or question may have arisen, that such party agreed that his obligations in connection with such transactions should be regulated exclusively by English law and in cases where no express rule is applicable to any matter in controversy, the Court shall be governed by the principles of justice, equity, and good conscience. (4 of 1876, s. 19.)
SITTINGS AND DISTRIBUTION OF BUSINESS.
20. The Governor in Council may, from time to time by Order published in the Gazette, provide in such manner and subject to such regulations as to him may seem meet for all and any of the following matters :
(1) For the formation for purposes of jurisdiction of Provinces and Districts.
(2) For appointing either temporarily or permanently the Province or place in which each of the Judges shall exercise jurisdiction in pursuance of this Ordinance, and
for the transference of any Judge from any Province or
(3) For declaring that the jurisdiction vested in the Supreme Limiting
The Governor in Council may from time to time by Order published in the Gazette alter, add to, or amend any Order made in pursuance of this section, and the jurisdiction of the Court shall be exercised subject to the limitations contained in any such Order. (4 of 1876, s. 22, amended.)
Provided that, subject to such Orders of the Governor in Council Provinces and as aforesaid, and until such Orders shall have been made, the districts defined, subProvinces and Districts wherein the jurisdiction vested in the ject to future Supreme Court shall be exercised as aforesaid shall be as set forth appointments. and described in the Fourth Schedule hereto. (4 of 1876, s. 23, part, amended.)
21. For the more convenient despatch of business, Divisional Divisional Courts of the Supreme Court shall be holden in each Province, and Courts. every such Divisional Court may, subject to the power of transference hereinafter enacted, exercise all or any part of the original jurisdiction, civil and criminal, vested in or for the time being capable of being exercised in such Province by the Supreme Court. If necessary, several Divisional Courts may be held concurrently in the same Province. A Divisional Court of the Supreme Court shall be fully constituted by any one of the Judges thereof, but may consist of two Judges. Any Puisne Judge appointed by the Governor to exercise jurisdiction in any Province shall be qualified and empowered to sit in any Divisional Court of such Province. The Chief Justice shall be at all times qualified to sit in any Divisional Court in any Province. Whenever two Judges shall sit in a Divisional Court the Senior Judge, according to the order of their precedence under this Ordinance, shall have two votes in case of difference in opinion. (4 of 1876, s. 24.)
22. (1) The Chief Justice may from time to time by order under his hand appoint places and times at which the Supreme Court shall sit for the trial of criminal and civil causes, and the disposal of other legal business pending. At such sittings (which shall be called the Assizes) all criminal causes shall, as far as practicable, be tried and determined in priority to any other business. (P. 6 of 1900, s. 15.)
(2) Subject to such Orders as aforesaid, Assizes shall be held at the times and places set forth in the Fifth Schedule hereto.
Power of Chief Justice to appoint times for
23. All persons committed for trial before the Supreme Court Gaol shall be committed for trial at the next Assizes held in the Province delivery.
in which the offence ought by law to be tried, and if more than one such Court shall be held, then at the Court which may be directed in the commitment of such persons. Any trial may be postponed if such postponement appear expedient for the interests of justice. (4 of 1876, s. 26.)
24. Subject to any such appointment as aforesaid the Court all times for shall be open throughout the year in every Province for the transgeneral action of the general legal business pending therein other than the trial upon information of criminal causes, and may at any time hear and determine any cause or matter pending in Court other than the causes last aforesaid, upon such notice to the parties and otherwise as shall be determined by Rules of Court, or as shall seem just and reasonable. (4 of 1876, s. 27.)
Adjournment of Court in Judge's absence.
Power of transfer by
Manner of its exercise.
Provided that it shall be lawful for the Governor by Order in Council to fix any period of time to be observed as a vacation during which it shall not be necessary for the Court to sit except for the purpose of hearing urgent applications, and the offices of the Court shall be open only at such times as the Chief Justice may direct.
Provided also that until otherwise provided as aforesaid the month of March shall be and continue to be observed as a vacation.
25. Subject to any such appointment as aforesaid, and except when required to sit in the Full Court, it shall be lawful for any Judge appointed to exercise jurisdiction in any Province to appoint a Special Divisional Court at any place therein for the trial of any civil or criminal cause, whenever circumstances render it in his opinion expedient to do so. (4 of 1876, s. 28, amended.)
26. In case the Judge before whom any Divisional or Special Divisional Court is to be held shall from any cause be unable or fail to attend the same on the day appointed, and no other Judge shall attend in his stead, the Court shall stand adjourned de die in diem until a Judge shall attend or until the Court shall be adjourned or closed by order under the hand of a Judge or by a Commissioner of the Court. (4 of 1876, s. 29.)
POWER OF TRANSFER.
27. Any cause or matter may at any time, and at any stage thereof, and either with or without application from any of the parties thereto, be transferred by the Chief Justice from any Court to any other Court, and such cause may be transferred either entirely or in respect of any part thereof or procedure required to be taken therein. (4 of 1876, s. 30.)
28. The power of transfer shall be exercised b means of an Order under the hand of the Chief Justice and Seal of the Court, which may apply either to any particular cause or causes, matter or matters, in dependence, or generally to all such causes and
matters as may be described in such Order, and in the latter case may extend to future causes or matters as well as to such as may at the time of making such Orders be in dependence. The Chief Justice may at all times cancel, alter, add to, or amend any such Order. (4 of 1876, s. 31.)
29. Any Court may, of its own motion, or on the application of Any Court any person concerned, report to the Chief Justice the pendency of may report any cause or matter, civil or criminal, which in the opinion of such transfer. Court ought for any reason to be transferred from such Court to any other Court or Judge. The Chief Justice shall direct in what mode and where the cause or matter shall be heard and determined. (4 of 1876, s. 32.)
30. Every Order of Transfer shall operate as a stay or pro- Effects of hibition of proceedings in the Court or before the Judge to whom Order of it may be addressed in any cause or matter to which the Order extends or is applicable, and the process and proceedings in every such cause or matter, and an attested copy of all entries in the books of the Court relative thereto, shall be transmitted to the Court or Judge to whom the same shall be transferred, and such cause or matter shall be heard and determined by or before the Court or Judge to whom the same shall be assigned by such Order. (4 of 1876, s. 33.)
30A. It shall be lawful for the Judge of any Divisional Court Power of to transfer any cause or matter in any Court in the Province in transfer by which he is exercising jurisdiction to any other Court in the same
Such Power of Transfer may be exercised as fully and shall be exercised in the same manner as it might or would be exercised by the Chief Justice; and any Order of Transfer so made shall be subject to the same incidents, shall operate in the same way and shall have the same force and effect as an Order of Transfer by the Chief Justice.
Provided that where any application has been made to the Chief Justice for the transfer of a cause or matter, or where the Chief Justice has transferred any cause or matter, a Judge shall not exercise the power hereby conferred on him with respect to such cause or matter.
Nothing in this section shall be deemed in any way to restrict or abridge the Powers of Transfer vested in the Chief Justice.
31. The Full Court shall hold sittings for the hearing of appeals Appeal and other matters in Lagos, and also at such other place or places sittings of the
Order of the Queen in Council, July 5th, 1889 (under 7 & 8 Vict. c. 69), enabling appeals to be brought from the Supreme Court to Her Majesty in Council, and providing Rules for such appeals: see Appendix.
Puisne Judges at appeal sittings.
When appeal lies.
Questions of law may be reserved and stated for
on such dates as the Chief Justice, subject to rules of Court, shall appoint. Such sittings shall be held not less than once in every year, and at other times whenever, in the opinion of the Chief Justice, the proper administration of Justice may require. (4 of 1876, s. 51, and 4 of 1905, s. 4.)
32. The Chief Justice may from time to time, with the approval in writing of the Governor, request the attendance of one or two of the Puisne Judges at any sitting of the Full Court, and such Judge or Judges shall attend accordingly. Any Puisne Judge so called to a sitting of the Full Court shall continue to possess and may exercise any powers exerciseable by a single Judge of Appeal until the next succeeding sitting of the Full Court. (4 of 1876, s. 52.)
33. An appeal shall lie to the Full Court from all final judgments and decisions of a Divisional Court or Judge where the claim thereby determined shall be of or above the amount or value of fifty pounds, and by leave of the Judge making the order, but not otherwise, from all interlocutory orders and decisions made in the course of any suit: provided always that the Full Court shall have power at all times, when it shall hold its sittings, to entertain any application in reference to any suit or matter pending before the Court in any Province, and to make any order and give such directions thereon as the justice of the case may require. (4 of 1876, s. 53.)
34. Any Judge may reserve for consideration by the Full Court, on a case to be stated by him, any question of law which may arise on the trial of any cause, civil or criminal, and in a civil opinion of the case may give any judgment of nonsuit, or for either party, subject to the opinion of the Full Court, and in a criminal case, if a verdict of guilty be returned, may postpone judgment, or may direct judgment to be entered provisionally, subject to the opinion of the Full Court, respiting execution of the judgment, and the Full Court shall have power to hear and determine every such question. (4 of 1876, s. 54.)
Powers of a
single Judge of Appeal.
Power of Governor to appoint Dis
35. In any appeal pending before the Full Court, any directions incidental thereto, not involving the decision of the appeal, may be given by a single Judge of Appeal, and a single Judge of Appeal may at any time make any interim order to prevent prejudice to the claims of any parties pending an appeal as he may think fit; but every such order may be discharged or varied by the Full Court. (4 of 1876, s. 55.)
Part II.-*DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS.
36.-(1) The Governor shall have power to appoint by order in writing under his hand, which shall be published in the
* See Appendix A., sects. 16-19.