In Personam Jurisdiction: An Overlooked Concept in Recent Nigerian Jurisprudence

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An important facet of a court's jurisdiction in common law countries is the court's in personam jurisdiction under which the court is able to adjudicate a dispute involving a defendant present or resident within the court's territorial limits. Recent decisions of the highest courts in Nigeria, which is also a common law country, have tended to overlook the concept of the court's in personam jurisdiction and to hold that a court did not have jurisdiction, simply because the cause of action arose elsewhere, contrary to common law principles long established in Nigeria. This is especially prominent in the context of which court, as between different State High Courts within Nigeria, should hear and determine a particular dispute. This article explores the concept of in personam jurisdiction in Nigeria's historical jurisprudence, contrasts this with recent decisions of Nigeria's Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, and suggests a preferable alternative approach for the courts.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2011

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