Gbagbarigha v. Toruemi [2013] 6 NWLR (Pt. 1350) 289 at 310, paras. C-G, per Rhodes-Vivour, J.S.C.:

“When a Judge raises an issue on his own motion, or raises an issue not in the contemplation of the parties; or an issue not before the court, the Judge is said to have raised the issue suo motu. The well laid down position of the law is that when an issue is raised suo motu the parties should be heard before a decision is reached on the issue. This is what procedural fairness entails… but there is an exception to this procedure. There would be no need to call on counsel to address the court on an issue raised suo motu by the Judge –
1. When the issue relates to the courts own jurisdiction;
2. When both parties are not aware or ignored a statute which may have bearing on the case; or
3. When on the face of the record serious questions of the fairness of the proceedings is evident…”

Blogger’s Note:

Although Judges are said to know the law, however, even in the face of the above exceptions, it must always be borne in mind that addresses of counsel is always helpful in assisting the Judge in making a decision.

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