PLEADINGS – DOCUMENT REFERRED TO IN THE PLEADINGS – WHETHER DOCUMENT BECOMES PART OF THE PLEADING
CASE CITATION: SIFAX NIGERIA LIMITED & 4 ORS. v. MIGFO NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR. (2018) 1-2 S.C. (Pt. I) 90 @ 135-137
DATE OF JUDGMENT: FRIDAY, THE 16TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2018
COURT: SUPREME COURT
SUIT NO: SC. 417/2017
CORAM: MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI, JSC – (Presided)
MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD, JSC
KUMAI BAYANG AKAAHS, JSC
AMINA ADAMU AUGIE, JSC – (Delivered the Leading Judgment)
PAUL ADAMU GALINJE, JSC
ISSUE(S): PLEADINGS – DOCUMENT REFERRED TO IN THE PLEADINGS – WHETHER DOCUMENT BECOMES PART OF THE PLEADING
CASE LAW: INCONSISTENCY BETWEEN A CONCURING JUDGMENT AND THE LEADING JUDGMENT – WHETHER CONCURRING JUDGMENT WILL GIVE WAY TO THE EXTENT OF ITS INCONSISTENCY.
The Appellants also argued that the said date – 20/7/2006, was not stated specifically in the said Paragraphs 9-47, but as the Respondents submitted, reference to a document in a pleading makes the document part of the pleading – see M.M.A. Inc. v. N.M.A (2012) 12 S.C. (Pt. II) 41, cited by them, wherein this court, per Galadima, JSC, 231explained the principle as follows –
The case of Day v. William Hill (Parklane) (1949) 1 KB 632 was cited with approval by the Supreme Court in Banque Genevoise De Commerce Et De Credit v. Cia Mar Di Isola Spetsai Ltd. ((1962) 2 SCNLR 310). The court affirmed that a reference to a document in a pleading makes the document part of the pleading, Brett, F.J., said at Page 74 thus:
“in writing, reference to it makes it part of the pleading; Day v. William Hill As the agreement of 26/10/1961 was (Parklane) (1949)1 KB 632 – – – The essential part of the pleading is the statement in Paragraph 4 that since the agreement was entered into the relationship between the parties has been governed by it. This was enough to make it clear to the Plaintiffs that the Defendants are relying on the agreement as debarring them from enforcing the mortgage, and in my view, it is open to the court to give the agreement its true legal effect”.
The court below was, therefore, in the right when it gleaned the said date from the certified true copies of the incorporation documents of the fifth Appellant, referred to by Respondents in the said paragraphs of the Statement of Claim. As to the issue of simple contract, Oseji, JCA., said in the leading judgment that computing the limitation period shows that the Respondents “are still within the ambit of the six years’ period of limitation as prescribed by Section 8(1) (a) — granted that the transaction falls within the realm of a simple contract”. It was only one Justice, who stated differently, in his concurring judgment, and where there is any inconsistency between a concurring and a leading judgment, the law says that the former would give way to the extent of the inconsistency – see O.S.I.E.C. & Anor. v. A.C. & Ors. (2010) 12 S.C. (Pt. IV) 108. So, the decision of the court below is that the transaction is a 6simple contract – (SIFAX NIGERIA LIMITED & 4 ORS. v. MIGFO NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR. (2018) 1-2 S.C. (Pt. I) 90 @ 135-137) – click HERE to read full judgment