In an appeal, the decision of the trial court is taken to an appellate court or from one appellate court to another appellate court.

11/25/20227 min read


Simply said, appealing a decision involves asking a higher court than the one that decided the case to review it in order to determine if the lower court made the right decision after carefully weighing the relevant facts and legal requirements. In this essay, we'll go over what an appeal is and how to file one in Nigeria.

In an appeal, the decision of the trial court is taken to an appellate court or from one appellate court to another appellate court. Appeals are crucial because they give a litigant the opportunity to submit one if they are unhappy with the decision made or if the decision was not in their favour. They also serve as a reminder that judges are fallible people who can make mistakes in their decisions. As a result, an appeal offers the chance to grant another panel of judges the authority to evaluate a lower court's ruling. The person who submits the appeal is known as the Appellant, and the person it is filed against is known as the Respondent.

In Nigeria, appeals are governed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution of 1999 (as modified), the Court of Appeal Act, and the Court of Appeal Rule 2011.


There are only two (2) types of individuals who are permitted to use their right of appeal in civil matters, according to Section 243(1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution. As follows:

Any party in the case who is listed as a party on record, or whose name is on the process.

Any non-party interested in the matter with leave of the trial Court or Court of Appeal. In this instance, where a party claims to be an interested party, he must show that his interest is affected by the decision he wants to appeal against. Failure to obtain leave of Court before appealing as a non-party having an interest in the matter renders the appeal incompetent.


Two categories, which will be briefly reviewed, comprise the rights of a plaintiff to file an appeal at the appellate Court. These are:

Appeal as of Right, and, Appeal with the leave of Court (that is with the leave or consent of either the lower or appellate Court).


Knowing when to file an appeal as of right is crucial since the procedure to utilise at the appellate court relies on whether the appeal is made as of right or with the court's permission. The following situations fall within Section 241(1)(a)-(f) of the 1999 Constitution, with the exception of paragraph (e), which only relates to criminal proceedings, and allow for the filing of an appeal without the need for court permission in civil matters. These examples include:

Final decisions in any civil or criminal proceedings before the Federal High Court, High Court (state or FCT), and National Industrial Court sitting at first instance. The decision must be final and the Court must have sat as a Court of first instance in the case. Where the ground of appeal involves questions of law alone arising from any civil or criminal proceeding. It is immaterial whether the decision was final or not. Decisions on interpretation or application of the 1999 Constitution. Decisions as to whether any provisions of Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution has been, is being, or is likely to be contravened in relation to any person. Decisions where the liberty of a person is concerned or the custody of an infant. Where an injunction is granted or refused. Where the appointment of a receiver is granted or refused. Decision determining the case of a creditor or the liability of a contributory or other officers under any enactment relating to companies. In the case of a decree nisi in a matrimonial cause. A decision in an admiralty action determining liability.


In this instance, the right to appeal is not inherent and must instead be utilised with the court's permission. The trial Court's or the Court of Appeal's permission is needed in this case. That is, the leave must come from the Federal High Court, the State High Court, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, the National Industrial Court (depending on which one handled the matter), or the Court of Appeal. The decision of a judge to give leave to appeal is discretionary if the right to file an appeal is by leave of Court.

According to Section 241 of the 1999 Constitution, there are the following circumstances in which an appeal may be filed with the court's permission:

Matters not coming under section 241(1) CFRN, appeal in such cases requires the leave of Court. When consent judgment is given by the Court. Filing an appeal as to cost only. Award or non-award of cost.


According to Section 24(2)(a) of the Court of Appeal Act, an interlocutory decision appeal should be started and filed within fourteen (14) days of the decision, and a final judgement appeal should be filed within three (3) months of the judgment's delivery.

If a party has run out of time to appeal, he may apply for an extension of time to request the Court of Appeal's permission. According to Order 7 Rule 10 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011, the High Court (trial Court) does not have the authority to extend the deadline for submitting an appeal.


According to Order 7 Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011, unless there are special circumstances that make it impossible or impracticable to apply to the lower Court, a request for leave to appeal must first be made to the lower Court (High Court or Federal High Court) whose decision is being appealed. In such circumstances, the Court of Appeal may be contacted first with the application.

Typically, a Motion Ex parte is used to make the request to the lower court. The Court, however, has the authority to grant or deny the application and may mandate that the other party be served.

According to Order 7 Rule 3 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011, if the lower court denies the application for leave to appeal, the applicant may file a comparable application with the Court of Appeal within fifteen (15) days of the lower court's denial.

A motion on notice must be filed with the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal, in accordance with Order 7 Rule 2 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011, and it must be served on each party who will be affected by the decision.

According to Order 7 Rule 7 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011, the application must include the following supporting documentation:

Motion on Notice (Civil Form 5). Certified True Copy of the decision of the lower Court sought to be appealed against. Certified True Copy of proposed grounds of appeal. Where leave has been refused by the lower Court, then a Certified True Copy of the Order or ruling refusing leave to appeal.


A Notice of Appeal is used to file an appeal with the Court of Appeal. Even though it is addressed to the Court of Appeal, the Notice of Appeal is actually filed at the registry of the High Court, Federal High Court, or National Industrial Court that made the decision that is being appealed. It must include the following, in accordance with Order 6 Rule 2(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules:

Part of the decision complained against. It must state whether it is the whole or only part of the decision of the lower Court is complained against. Where the complaint is against only a part of the decision of the lower Court, the relevant part must be specified. The grounds of appeal and particulars of error- A ground of an appeal is a complaint on an issue of fact or law or procedure which if upheld will lead to the appeal being allowed. It must be valid and raise serious questions to be considered on appeal. The grounds of appeal are not considered alone, particulars must be supplied along with it. Reliefs sought: It must also state the exact nature of the reliefs Persons interested in the appeal: the names and addresses of all the parties affected by the appeal. It must have an address for service

According to Order 6 Rule 2(3) of the Court of Appeal Rules from 2011, a Notice of Appeal must be numbered consecutively, succinctly, and under separate headings state the grounds of appeal that the appellant intends to rely on during the hearing of the appeal.

Within thirty (30) days of receiving service of the notice of appeal, the Registrar shall, after the notice of appeal has been filed, serve a true copy of the notice on each individual named therein.


The Court of Appeal shall be seized of the entire proceedings as between the parties thereto after an appeal has been entered and until it has been finally decided, and except as may be otherwise provided by the Court of Appeal Rules, every application made in the proceedings shall be made to the Court of appeal and not the trial Court, as may be provided by Order 4 Rule 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules.


According to Order 8 Rule 1 of the Court of Appeal Rules, the registrar of the lower court must assemble the record of appeal and send it to the registrar of the Court of Appeal within 60 days of the filing of a Notice of Appeal by an appellant or an interested party.

The respondent may, pursuant to Order 8 Rule 18, request the Court to reject the appeal in cases where both the Registrar of the lower court and the appellant failed to compile and transmit the records. The lower Court loses jurisdiction once an appeal has been filed and the record of the appeal has been sent to, received, and entered in the cause book of the Court of Appeal.


A respondent who concurs with the trial court's ruling in his favour but nonetheless desires the judgement to be upheld or altered on reasons other than those on which the trial judge relied may do so in writing to the Court of Appeal. The respondent must submit a Respondent's Notice in Procedure Form 10 B in order to accomplish this. As required by Order 9 Rules 1 and 2 of the Court of Appeal Rules, the notice must state the basis for the contention and the precise form of changes the appellant wants the court to make.

According to Order 9 Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Rules, the respondent's notice must be submitted and served on all parties to the High Court proceedings who are directly affected by the respondent's contention if the appeal is against an interlocutory decision. If the appeal is against a final judgment, the respondent's notice must be so served within thirty (30) days of the service

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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