The apex court stated this last Friday, November 14, 2015, while giving reasons for its decision made on October 27, 2015 to allow the cross-appeal in Appeal No. SC/722/15 All Progressives Congress (APC) V. General Bello Sarkin Yaki. The court’s decision arose out of the 2nd cross-appellant’s cross appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division which summarily dismissed the 2nd cross-appellant’s preliminary objection challenging the competence of the appellants’ Notice of Appeal for failure to bear the stamp/seal of the legal practitioner who signed it as stipulated by Rule 10(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007. In the lead judgment of the court delivered by Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC, the court held that such a process even though signed and filed is not null and void or incompetent like the case of a court process so signed in the name of corporation or association (even of lawyers). The court held that such a document even though signed and filed is not proper in law for the reason that the condition precedent for its proper signing and filing had not been met. The court also held that such a document is “akin to a legal document or process filed at the expiration of the time allowed by the rules or extended by the court.” Particularly, the court per Ngwuta JSC, held that “in such cases the filing of the process can be regularised by extension of time and deeming order. In the case at hand, the process filed in breach of Rule 10(1) can be saved and it’s signing and filing regularised by affixing the approved seal and stamp on it. It is a legal document improperly filed and the fixing of the stamp and seal would make the filing proper in law. Since this was not done the court cannot take cognizance of a document not properly filed and the filing not regularized.” In a concurring judgment, Clara Bata Ogunbiyi JSC held thus: “The refusal of the document by the registry is a sanction in itself and pending proper signature and affixing of stamp/seal as required by Rule 10(1). The breach of the rule in my opinion should not be viewed as a substantive infraction but a mere irregularity which can be remedied.” ]]>