HOW TO ENFORCE COURT JUDGMENT IN NIGERIA

Enforcement of judgment basically describes the various measures available for a judgment creditor to administer his legal right against the judgment debtor.

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

6/16/2022 2 min read

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HOW TO ENFORCE COURT JUDGMENT IN NIGERIA

It is imperative to establish that domestic and foreign judgments inclusive, can be enforced in the Nigerian Courts.

Enforcement of judgment basically describes the various measures available for a judgment creditor (the party to whom a judgment has been awarded in his favour) to administer his legal right against the judgment debtor (the party in adversary against whom a judgement has been awarded).

For a judgement to be enforceable, a number of factors must be brought into consideration. For instance, whether it is with respect to a monetary judgement an injunction prohibiting certain acts default judgment.

However, judgments that cannot be enforced are:

  • Declaratory judgments

  • Judgment obtained without requisite jurisdiction

  • Judgment subject to a valid and subsisting appeal

  • An order of stay of execution.

The applicable domestic statutes that govern enforcement of judgment are as follows:

  • The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)

  • The Sheriffs and Civil Process Act (cap 56, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004) and the Judgments (Enforcement) Rules made under it.

  • The Sheriffs and Civil Process Laws of the various Nigerian states and the rules made under them.

  • Civil procedure rules of various states.

  • An application to enforce a domestic judgment can be made to the High Court of a state, the Federal Capital Territory or the Federal High Court.

The various legally recognized procedures for the enforcement of domestic judgments in Nigeria are:

  • Writ of Fieri Facias ("Writ of Fifa") under section 20 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act. This is mainly in relation to both movable and immovable properties.

  • Writ of Delivery under section 51 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act.

  • Judgment debtor summons under Section 55 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act.

  • Writ of Sequesation under Section 82 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act.

For the enforcement of foreign judgments, it must be recognized under the common law and must be brought up by instituting a fresh action in a Nigerian court claiming the reliefs granted by the foreign court to the judgment creditor as evidence.

The applicable laws for the enforcement of foreign judgments in Nigeria includes:

  • The Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments ordinance 1922 (also referred to as the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1958") ("the ordinance")

  • The foreign judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1960 ( also often referred to as "the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act cap F35, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004",) ("the Act") and Common Law.

Under section 3 of the Act, a judgement of a foreign court shall only be recognized and enforced in Nigeria if:

  • It is a judgment of a superior court of record.

  • If it is a judgment that involves an ascertainable sum of money, but not for money recoverable as tax, a fine or another penalty.

  • It's a final judgement. It was delivered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

  • The time and costs taken to enforce a foreign and domestic judgment depends on the facts of each case.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080