Appeal Court can review National Industrial Court rulings, Supreme Court says

Supreme Court of Nigeria
Supreme Court of Nigeria

The Supreme Court on Friday gave a verdict allowing aggrieved persons to appeal the decision of the National Industrial Court.

Four members of a five-man panel at the court gave the decision following an appeal filed by Sky Bank Nigeria Plc. against a respondent, Anaemem Iwu.

Before the decision on Friday, only judgements emanating from fundamental right appeals, could go to a higher court.

The applicants had asked the Supreme Court to determine whether there were exceptions to the powers of the appeal court to entertain decisions of the lower court.

In a unanimous ruling by four members of the bench, the court ruled that the appeal court had power to entertain matters from the National Industrial court, regardless of whether they were fundamental rights suits or not.

In the ruling read by Justice Centus Nweze, the four members of the bench said the law allowed the appeal court to sit on matters emanating from trial courts, including the NIC.

It said there was no law that prevented the Appeal Court from entertaining cases from the NIC.

“The lower court, that is, the Court of Appeal, has the jurisdiction, to the exclusion of any other court in Nigeria, to hear and determine all appeals arising from the decisions of the trial court,” Mr. Nweze.

“No constitutional provision expressly divested the said Court of Appeal of its appellate jurisdiction over all decisions on civil matters emanating from the trial court.

“And, as a corollary, the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine all civil appeal on decisions of the National Industrial Court is not limited to only fundamental human rights.

“These shall be the opinions of this court and shall be transmitted to the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal for its guidance in determining the appeal before it.”

A member of the panel, Justice Kumai Akaahs, said he believed the appeal court was only empowered to entertain such matters as fundamental rights suits and criminal cases from the NIC.


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