Territorial jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) and the requirement of endorsing originating processes under the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act (SCPA) determined
Authors: David Tarh-Akong Eyongndi and Stephen Idowu Ilesanmi
Affiliations: LLB (Hons) UNICAL LLM (Ibadan) BL; Lecturer, College of Law, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria; LLB (Hons) LLM (OAU) BL; Lecturer, Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 9 Issue 1, p. 162 – 178
When a case is filed at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), apart from its Civil Procedure Rules, the service of originating processes in Nigeria is regulated by the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act (SCPA), just as in all other courts under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 CFRN). The SCPA requires that, when an originating process is issued in one State but is to be served in another, there must be an endorsement on the process disclosing this fact, or else the service shall be rendered void. Is this requirement of the SCPA applicable to the NICN, and what effect does it have on its efficiency, given that the NICN is a specialised court dealing with matters requiring expeditious settlement, free of technicalities? This article, using doctrinal methodology, will catechise the territorial jurisdiction of the NICN vis-à-vis the SCPA on endorsement of originating processes by appraising the Court of Appeal’s decision in Johnson v Eze where it held that the provisions of ss 97, 98 and 99 of the SCPA are inapplicable to the NICN because of s 2 of the SCPA, s 21(1) andd(2) of the National Industrial Court Act, 2006 and Order 7, Rule 15(1) and (2) of the NICN Rules, 2017. The effect of the judgment on the jurisdiction and mandate of the NICN under extant laws is also discussed. The authors argue that making the court amenable to the provisions of the SCPA will usher in technicalities that can frustrate the mandate of the NICN. Thus, the decision is a welcome development, which should not be overturned in subsequent decisions.