Daily Law Tips (Tip 629) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)

When Can Rule of Law Be Legally Violated?

Rule of Law is the sanity in exercise of power. It is the minimum standard that brings all human beings and corporate beings below the law. It is simply, a strict adherence to laws. Without rule of law, power becomes destructive, discretionary, discriminatory and greatly left to rule of man and rule by law.

However, it is not impossible to have circumstances, where rule of law (in this sense, adherence to law) may do injustice. In such circumstances, adherence to law will beget an abuse of rule of law. Below, are the words of the court on this issue.

“To this extent, the reference made by learned counsel to the dictum of Aboki JCA in MOTOH V. MOTOH @ 532, PARAS. B-D is most apt: “Courts in the exercise of their interpretative jurisdiction are enjoined to lean where the justice of the case demands. The proper role of the Court is to do justice between the parties before it. If there is any rule of law which impairs the doing of justice, then it is the province of the Court to do all it legitimately can to avoid that rule so as to do justice in the case before it. The Courts in Nigeria exercise the dual role of being Courts of law and of equity. A Judge in such system has a duty to ameliorate the harsh content of the law, where it is equitable to do so.” Per CHINWE EUGENIA IYIZOBA ,J.C.A ( Pp. 9-20, paras. C-F )

My authorities are:

1. The judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of OBIDIEGWU v. OBIDIEGWU (2019)LPELR-47236(CA)


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