Filing a Notice of Discontinuance after obtaining substantial advantage is an abuse of court process.

The Vessel “Saint Roland” v. Osinloye [1997] 4 NWLR (Pt. 500) 387 at 412 paras. B-D,  per Iguh, JSC:

“…It is a clear abuse of process to use the machinery of Notice of Discontinuance without leave to improve a plaintiff’s position unjustly. See Castanho v. Brown and Root, supra at 114-115. Similarly, filing a Notice of Discontinuance immediately after obtaining substantial interim advantages or some unjust enrichment in a suit to the prejudice of the defendant constitutes an abuse of process. Such interim advantage may include securing unjustifiable substantial payments in the suit just before filing the Notice to the detriment of the defendant…”

Blogger’s Note:

The full Judgment is available on this link.

The above principle is quite necessary because justice in a case is both for the plaintiff and defendant, as well as for the court. So, where a Notice of Discontinuance was filed upon obtaining substantial advantage, it is only proper that the trial court should exercise its discretion in the matter by discountenancing the Notice or allowing same based on terms as may be considered just. The court must not be used as a vehicle to achieve unjust means.

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