• News

Fred-Young & Evans LP's Suit To Compel The AG And Minister Of Justice Of The Federation Of Nigeria To Promulgate An Order To Extend Part 1 Of The Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, 1990 To Judgments Of Foreign Countries

Published: 28 Aug 2017

Background

The Foreign Judgment Reciprocal Act, CAP F35, Chapter 152, Laws of the Federation, 1990 ("the 1990 Act") which provides for a 6 years period for registration of foreign judgments was enacted to replace the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance, CAP 175, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1958 ("the 1958 Ordinance") which provides for a 12 months period within which to register a foreign judgment.

Moreover, the 1958 Ordinance provides for registration of judgments of only commonwealth countries while Section 3 of the 1990 Act creates an opportunity for the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation ("the Minister") to extend reciprocity for recognition and registration of foreign judgments to both commonwealth and non-commonwealth countries by promulgating an Order to that effect.

Globalization and international trade has increased business relationships between Nigerians and entities in many non-commonwealth countries. Indeed, the 1990 Act is more in line with international trends on registration of foreign judgments than the 1958 Ordinance but unfortunately, the 1958 Ordinance is still the main legislation regulating recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Nigeria because the Minister is yet to promulgate an Order to bring Part 1 of the 1990 Act into operation.

Pre-action Notice

Emmanuel Ekpenyong Esq. of Fred-young & Evans LP ("the Applicant") by a notice dated 10th February 2017 and delivered to the Minister on 13th February 2017, urged the Minister to promulgate an Order pursuant to Section 3 of the 1990 Act to extend the Act to both commonwealth and non-commonwealth countries and bring Part 1 of the Act into operation.

The Minister has not promulgated the Order further to the Applicant's notice.

Suit to Compel the Minister to Promulgate the Order

By Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/203/17, the Applicant commenced an action against the Minister and applied to the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abuja Judicial Division for judicial review for the grant of an Order of mandamus against the Minister. 

By a motion exparte dated 17th March 2017, brought Pursuant to Order 34 Rule 3 (1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009, Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Rules, 1922, Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgment Ordinance, 1958, Section 3 (1), 5 (2) and 9 (2) of Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, CAP, F35, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the Court, the Applicant prayed for the following reliefs;

AN ORDER for leave to apply for an Order of mandamus compelling the Minister to exercise the legal duty stipulated in Section 3 (1) of the Foreign Judgment Reciprocal Act, CAP F35, Laws of the Federation, 1990 to promulgate an Order extending the applicability of Part 1 of the 1990 Act to judgments of superior courts of foreign countries with substantial reciprocity treatment with Nigeria and deeming the courts stipulated in the Order as superior courts in the foreign countries for the purpose of applicability of Part 1 of the 1990 Act.

AN ORDER for leave to apply for an Order of mandamus compelling the Minister to exercise the legal duty stipulated in Section 9 (2) of the 1990 Act to promulgate an Order to bring Part 1 of the 1990 Act into operation and for the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance, 1958 ("the 1958 Ordinance") to cease to have effect in Nigeria.

AN ORDER for leave to apply for an Order of mandamus compelling the Minister to exercise his legal duty stipulated in Section 5 (2) of the 1990 Act, to make rules in respect of registration and enforcement of foreign judgment in Nigeria and for the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Rules, 1922 ("the 1922 Rules") to cease to have effect in Nigeria.

FOR SUCH FURTHER OR OTHER ORDER(S) as the Honorable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

Issues for Determination

Whether there is a legal duty on the Minister under Section 3 (1) and 9 (2) of the 1990 Act to promulgate an order to bring Part 1 of 1990 Act into operation? 

Whether there is a legal duty on the Minister under Section 5 (2) of the 1990 Act to make Rules to regulate the procedure for registration of foreign judgments in Nigeria?

Whether the Applicant has locus standi to bring this application?

Whether the Honorable Court has the powers to compel the Minister to perform the legal duty stipulated in Section 3 (1), 9 (2) and 5 (2) of the 19904 Act and grant the prayers sought in the application.

Hearing

The suit was listed for hearing on 17th May 2017 before Court 5 of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division.

Firm: Addleshaw Goddard
Country:

Practice Area: Trade & Customs

  • Suite 217A, Jinifa Plaza, Plot 1014, Samuel
    Adesoji Ademulegun Street, Central
    Business District, Federal Capital Territory





Find a Global Law Expert

Awards

Since 2010, the Global Law Experts annual awards have been celebrating excellence, innovation and performance across the legal communities from around the world.

Sign up for the latest legal briefing and news within Global Law Experts community, as well as a whole host of features, editorial and conference updates direct to your email inbox.

Naturally you can unsubscribe at anytime.