1. -(1) These Rules may be cited as the Court of Appeal Rules,2002 and shall come into force on 1st April, 2002.
(2) The Court of Appeal Rules,1981 are hereby revoked.
2 In these Rules, unless it is otherwise expressly provided or required by the context :
"The Act" means the Court of Appeal Act,
"appeal" includes an application for leave to appeal;
"appellant" means any person who desires to appeal or appeals from a decision of the Court below or who applies for leave to so appeal, and includes a legal practitioner representing such a person in that behalf;
"cause" includes any action suit or other proceeding between an appellant and a respondent or any applicant and a respondent, and any criminal proceeding;
"Chief Registrar" means the Chief Registrar of the Court;
"The Committee" means the Rules of Court Advisory Committee established under these rules;
"The Constitution" means the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
"The Court" means the Court of Appeal;
"court below" or "lower court" means any court or tribunal from which appeal is brought;
"High Court" means the Federal High Court, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja or any High Court established for a State under the Constitution"
"Justice" means a Justice of the Court of Appeal including the President;
"legal representative" means a person admitted to practise in the Supreme Court who has been retained by or assigned to a party to represent him in the proceedings before the Court;
"President " means the President of the Court;
"Presiding Justice" means any Justice of the court duly designated by the President to take charge of a Judicial Division of the Court;
"Record" means the aggregate of papers relating to an appeal including the pleadings, proceedings, evidence and judgments proper to be laid before the Court on the hearing of the appeal;
"Registrar" means the Chief Registrar, Deputy Chief Registrar, Assistant Chief Registrar, Senior Registrar, or Registrar of the Court, or any other officer of the Court by whatever title called exercising functions analogous to those of a Registrar of the Court;
"Registrar of the Court below" includes the Chief Registrar and any Registrar of whatever grade of the court below, and any officer of the court below exercising functions analogous to those of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, High Court of a State, Sharia Court of Appeal, Customary Court of Appeal or other court or tribunal from which an appeal is brought to the Court:
"respondent" in a civil appeal means any party (other than the appellant) directly affected by the appeal ; and in a criminal appeal means the person who undertakes the defence of the judgment appealed against :
"Rules" means these Rules or any amendment thereto or any other additional Rules made under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and includes the Fees and Forms as contained in the Schedules to these Rules;
"Supreme Court" means the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
3. (1) Any reference in these Rules to an address for service means an address within the Federal Republic of Nigeria where notices, orders, summonses, warrants and other documents, proceedings, and written communications, if not required to be served personally, may be left, or to which they may be sent.
(2) Where under these Rules any person has given an address for service, any notice or other written communication which is not required to be served personally shall be sufficiently served upon him if left at that address or sent by registered post to that address ; and in any case where the date of service by post is material section 26 of the Interpretation Act shall apply.
(3) Where under these Rules any notice or other application to the Court, or to the court below, is required to have an address for service endorsed on it, it shall not be deemed to have been properly filed unless such an address is endorsed on it.
(4) Any person desiring to change his address for service shall notify the Registrar, and shall also communicate the new address to all other parties to the suit.
(5) Where any person has given the address of a legal practitioner as his address for service and the legal practitioner is not or has ceased to be instructed by him for the purpose of the proceedings concerned, it shall be the duty of the legal practitioner to inform the Registrar as soon as may be that he is not or no longer authorised to accept service on behalf of such person, and if he omits to do so he may be ordered to personally pay any costs occasioned thereby.
(6) Except as may be otherwise provided in these Rules or in any other written law, no notice or other written communication in proceedings in the Court need to served personally except the notice of appeal :
Provided that if the Court is satisfied that the notice of appeal has in fact been communicated to the
respondent, no objection to the hearing of the appeal shall lie on the ground that the notice of appeal was not
(7) Where a Minister or Commissioner, or the Attorney-General, or the Director of Public Prosecutions, or any other public officer, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or of a State thereof is a party ex-officio or as representing the Federal or a State Government, as the case may be, in any proceedings in the Court, whether civil or criminal, any notice or other document may served on him by leaving it at or by sending it by registered post to his chambers or office and service in this manner shall be effective as if it were personal service.
(8) Where any document is required by these Rules to be served personally, it shall be sufficiently served if it is served in the manner prescribed by law for the personal service of a writ of summons issued by the High Court having jurisdiction in the State in which service is to be effected, and if it appears to the Court that for any reason personal service cannot be conveniently effected, the Court shall have the same power as that High Court to direct that service be effected in some other way.
(9) Where any person out of jurisdiction of the Court is a necessary or proper party to an appeal before the Court and it is necessary to serve him with the notice of appeal or other document relating to the appeal, the Court may allow service of the notice of appeal or such other document out of the jurisdiction.
(10) Every application for an order for leave to serve a notice of appeal or other document on a person out of the jurisdiction shall be supported by evidence by affidavit or otherwise showing in what place or country such a person is or probably may be found, and the grounds upon which the application is made.
(11) Any order giving leave to effect service out of the jurisdiction shall prescribe the mode of service, and shall limit a time within which such party may acknowledge such a service, such a time to depend on the place or country where or within which the notice or document is to be served, and the Court may receive an affidavit or statutory declaration of such service having been affected as prima facie evidence thereof.
4. The practice and procedure of the Court shall be as prescribed by these Rules notwithstanding any written law or rule of practice to the contrary obtaining in any of the States.
5. The fees set out in the Third Schedule shall be payable in respect of the matters to which they relate.
6. (1) The Registries of the Court shall be situated at Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu, Ibadan, Benin City, Jos, Port Harcourt Abuja, Ilorin and Calabar ,and at the seat of such other Judicial Division of the Court as may be established.
(2) Except when otherwise expressly provided, all document and proceedings shall be filed in the appropriate Registry, provided that whilst the Court is sitting in any Judicial Division or other place of session any documents or proceedings in connection with a matter to be dealt with at such branch or other place of session may be filed with Registrar of the Court at such a place.
(3) A document may be filed in the appropriate Registry of the Court or such other place of session either by being delivered there by the party or his legal representative or agent in person or by being sent there by registered post.
7. The Registries of the Court shall, subject to the directions of the President, be opened to the public on every day in the year from eight o’clock in the forenoon to one o’clock in the afternoon, except on Saturdays and Sundays or on any day declared a public holiday under any written law.
8. (1) Sessions of the Court may be convened and constituted, and the time, venue and forum for all session and for hearing interlocutory applications shall be settled in accordance with general or specific directions to be given by the President.
(2)The Registrar may post up every Friday a weekly cause list which shall set out the arrangement f fixture of causes for hearing on each day during the following week:
Provided that not more than 25 causes may be fixed for hearing each day.
(3)The Presiding Justice of a Division of the Court may direct that a certain day of the week be reserved in the weekly cause lists for rulings and judgments.
9. (1) The sittings of the Court and the matters to be disposed of at such sittings shall be advertised and notified in such manner as the President may direct :
Provided that the Court may in its discretion hear any appeal and deal with any other matter whether or not the same has been advertised.
10. The Court may, at any time on application or of its own motion, adjourn any proceedings pending before it from time to time and from place to place.
11. The Chief Registrar shall have the custody of the records of the Court and shall exercise such other functions as are assigned to him by these Rules and by such directions as the President may give from time to time.
12. The President may assign, and the Chief Registrar may, with the approval of the President, delegate to the Deputy Chief Registrar or to any Registrar of the Court any functions required by these Rules to be exercised by the Chief Registrar.
13. The Seal of the Court shall be kept in the custody of the President who may entrust same or duplicate thereof to such officers of the Court as he may think fit.
14. Except as may be otherwise provided in the Constitution, or in any other enactment, the Chief Registrar shall have powers and duties as are given him by these Rules or such further powers and duties as the President may direct.
15. (1) The Registrar shall keep :
(a) a Criminal Appeal Book ;
(b) a Civil Appeal Book ;
each of which shall contain an index in alphabetical order.
(2) The following particulars shall be entered in the Criminal Appeal Book and the Civil Appeal Book
(a) the number of the appeal or application ;
(b) the names of the appellant or applicant and the respondent ;
(c) the court from which the appeal is brought ;
(d) the date and place of hearing of the appeal ;
(e) the names of counsel ;
(f) the subject matter of the appeal or application ;
(g) the judgment of the Court ;
(h) any subsequent proceedings and remarks.
16. As soon as notice of appeal is delivered the Registrar shall, prepare a file in which documents relating to the appeal shall be filed and on the front page thereof shall be recorded particulars of such documents and the dates on which they are received.
17. Any person aggrieved by anything done by the Registrar may apply to the Court to have the act or order complained of set aside or varied and the Court may give such directions or make such order thereon as the Court thinks fit. Such application shall be made by notice of motion supported by affidavits setting out the complaint ,the grounds for the complaint and the relief sought.
18. The forms set out in the First and Second Schedules to these Rules, or forms as near thereto as circumstance permit, shall be used in all cases to which such forms are applicable.
19. (1) In relation to an appeal the Court shall have all the powers and duties as to amendment and otherwise of the High Court including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing words, in civil matters the powers of the High Court in civil matters to refer any question or issue of fact arising on the appeal for trial before, or inquiry and report by, an official or special referee.
In relation to a reference made to an official or special referee, anything which can be required or authorized to be done by to or before the High Court shall be done by to or before the Court.
(2) The Court shall have power to receive further evidence on questions of fact, either by oral examination in court ,by affidavit , or by deposition taken before an examiner or commissioner as the Court may direct , but, in the case of an appeal from a judgment after trial or hearing of any cause or matter on the merits , no such further evidence (other than evidence as to matters which have occurred after the date of the trial or hearing ) shall be admitted except on special grounds
(3) The Court shall have power to draw interferences of fact and to give any judgment and make any order which ought to have been given or made, and to make such further or other order as the case may require, including any order as to costs.
(4) The powers of the Court under the foregoing provisions of this rule may be exercised notwithstanding that no notice of appeal or respondent’s notice has been given in respect of any particular part of the decision of the court below, or by any particular party to the proceedings in that court, or that any ground for allowing the appeal or for affirming or varying the decision of that court is not specified in such a notice ; and the Court may make any order, on such terms as the Court thinks just, to ensure the determination on the merits of the real question in controversy between the parties.
(5) The Court may, in special circumstances, order that such security shall be given for the costs of an appeal as may be just.
(6) The powers of the Court in respect of an appeal shall not restricted by reason of any interlocutory order from which there has been no appeal.
(7) The Court shall have power to make orders by way injunctions or the appointment of a receiver or manager and such other necessary orders for the protection of property or person pending the determination of an appeal to it even though no application for such an order was made in the court below.
(8) Documents impounded by order of the Court shall not be delivered out of the custody of the Court except in compliance with an order of the Court :
Provided that where the Attorney-General of the Federation or of a State or the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation or of a State makes a written request in that behalf, documents so impounded shall be delivered into his custody.
(9) Documents impounded by order of the Court, while in the custody of the Court, shall not inspected except by a person authorized to do so by an order of the Court.
20. (1) On the hearing of any appeal the Court may, if it thinks fit, make any such orders as could be made in pursuance of an application for a new trial or to set aside a verdict, finding or judgment of the court below.
(2) The Court shall not be bound to order a new trial on the ground of misdirection, or of the improper admission or rejection of evidence, unless in the opinion of the Court some substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice has been thereby occasioned.
(3) A new trial may be ordered on any question without interfering with the finding or decision on any other question ; and if it appears to the Court that any such wrong or miscarriage of justice as is mentioned in paragraph (2) of this Rule affects part only of the matter in controversy or one or some only of the parties, the court may order a new trial as to the party only, or as to that party or those parties only, and give final judgment as to the remainder.
(4) In any case where the Court has power to order a new trial on the ground that damages awarded by the court below are excessive or inadequate, the Court may in lieu of ordering a new trial -
(a) substitute for the sum awarded by the court below such sum as appears to the Court to be proper ;
(b) reduce or increase the sum awarded by the court below by such amount as appears to the Court to be proper in respect of any distinct head of damages erroneously included or excluded from the sum so awarded ;
but except as aforesaid the Court shall not have power to reduce or increase the damages awarded by the court below.
(5) A new trial shall not be ordered by reason of the ruling of any judge of the court below that a document is sufficiently stamped or does not require to be stamped.
21.- (1)An appeal shall be deemed to have been entered in the court when the record of proceedings in the court below has been received in the Registry of the Court.
(2)After an appeal has been entered and until it has been finally disposed of, the Court shall be seized of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto, and except as may be otherwise provided in theses Rules, every application therein shall be made to the court and not to the court below, but any application may be filed in the court below for transmission of the Court.