It is advisable to consider all of one's options before resolving to sue someone in Nigeria in order to settle a dispute or enforce one's rights.

11/22/20223 min read


In Nigeria, suing someone involves filing a lawsuit in court for a variety of reasons, including a violation of contract, tortious behaviour, and others.

It is advisable to consider all of one's options before resolving to sue someone in Nigeria in order to settle a dispute or enforce one's rights. In some cases, it may be more advantageous for a person to settle a dispute outside of court through an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation, arbitration, or reconciliation.

Additionally, there are preliminary issues that must be taken into consideration before taking legal action against any offending party. It should be mentioned that a court action can be started in certain circumstances.

The parties to an action must either be natural (persons) or legal for it to be competent (companies). Before filing a lawsuit against someone, it's important to take the cause of action into account. This cause of action is a collection of events that gave rise to a court action being allowed. The Statement of Claim or Particulars of Claim states the basis for suing a person. A person must be personally harmed by the fact or series of facts constituting the action in order to have a right to bring a legal claim.

A claim can only be made against an offender if there is a legal basis for it. One cannot file a frivolous lawsuit against someone, and the court cannot decide a case that doesn't exist.

A lawyer's assistance will be needed to file a lawsuit against a person in court. A lawyer's services would include advising a client regarding the viability or strength of his claims against another party. A lawyer is also tasked with the responsibility of filing court papers on behalf of a party seeking legal action. A lawyer who files a frivolous lawsuit on behalf of a client will be held personally responsible and, in most situations, forced to cover the expense of the frivolous lawsuit.

If someone needs legal representation but cannot afford a lawyer, they can get it for free through non-profit groups such the Office of the Public Defender, Human Rights Commission, and Legal Aid Council.


The first step in suing someone is to bring a case against them in court. An action is typically filed with a court using court procedures such a writ of summons or originating summons, along with any required paperwork.

The jurisdiction is a crucial consideration when suing someone in Nigeria. Not every court has the capacity to hear all cases. The jurisdiction gave the court the authority or right to hear a case. Essentially, there are two kind of court jurisdiction in Nigeria: subject matter jurisdiction and geographical jurisdiction.

To assess whether a Court has inherent jurisdiction to hear such a matter, a person who wants to sue someone should consider the following criteria:

  • In civil cases, the monetary value of a matter determines whether it is the Magistrate Court or High Court that would have jurisdiction to hear the matter. For example, where the monetary claim is N10, 000,000 or below in the Lagos State, such case or claim can be instituted at the Magistrate Court.

  • Where the monetary claim exceeds N10, 000,000 for a simple breach of contract or related matter, it is the High Court of the State that has jurisdiction to hear such case. Where the matter in question is related to the property or landed matter, it is only the High Court of the State that can hear such a case.

  • Where the dispute involves an employer and employee, such matter can only be instituted at the National Industrial Court.

  • An action or any petition under the matrimonial causes, which involves husband and wife statutorily married, can only be filed in the High Court of a State.

  • The action based on the enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights of any person may be instituted in either the Federal High Court or the National Industrial Court.

  • An action solely based on maritime or admiralty issues can only be filed at the Federal High Court

In Nigeria, filing a lawsuit requires paying the necessary fees. The case will be properly filed at the court registry after the filing fees have been paid, and the offender or defendant will be served with a copy of all procedures or court documents filed by the claimant.

If a defendant agrees to defend an action, they must also file a statement of defence, a list of witnesses they plan to call, witness written depositions, and copies of all documents they plan to use as evidence when the case goes to trial.

In Nigeria, suing someone is a technique to assert one's legal rights through the filing of a lawsuit. The alternative dispute resolution system, which is typically quicker and less expensive than going to court, should not be overlooked as another means of settling disputes.

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



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