Supreme Court re-affirms its powers to grant retrospective leave to appeal on grounds of mixed law and facts in an appeal slated for hearing.
In a considered ruling, the Supreme Court granted a motion seeking the trinity prayers and a deeming order in respect of 4 of 6 grounds of appeal which were grounds of mixed law and facts in a Notice of Appeal. Parties to the appeal filed and exchanged briefs of argument, the Respondent however filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of 4 of the 6 grounds of appeal contained in the Notice of Appeal on the basis that the requisite leave to appeal being grounds of mixed law and facts, was not sought and obtained. The Appellant thereafter filed a motion seeking the trinity prayers in respect of the 4 grounds and an order deeming as properly filed and served the already filed Notice of Appeal. Counsel to the Respondent, Oditah SAN, QC opposing the application, contended that to indulge the Applicant at that stage and grant the reliefs would amount to allowing it regularize an otherwise incompetent process. It was further contended that the appeal, with the filing of briefs by parties, had been argued; therefore finding merit in the application would overreach the Respondent.
The Court considered Section 233 (2) (c), (6) and Section 236 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) as well as Section 27 of the Supreme Court Act, Order 2 Rule 31 and Order 8 Rule 4 of the Supreme Court Rules and two of its previous decisions which supported the Applicant’s position and held that the justice of the case required that Applicant be obliged. The application being meritorious was therefore granted in terms.
We acted as co-counsel to the Appellant/Applicant in the proceedings. The case is reported as South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd v The Minister of Petroleum Resources (2013) LPELR-21892 (SC).