Legal Nuggets (91):DEATH OF A PARTY : Effect of the Death of a Party to an Action- By Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji, LL.M (M.IoD), FCAI

OJO v. AKINSANOYE (2014) LPELR-22736(CA)


DEATH OF A PARTY : Effect of the death of a party to an action


"It is settled law that among other supervening events which may cause a pending suit to become defective is death (i.e of a sole plaintiff or defendant or both) See Sapo v. Sunmonu (2010) 11 NWLR (PI.1205) 374. The pertinent question is: what is the effect of the death of a party to an action or court order? Does the action of court abate or survive the death of such a party? Question can further be asked whether the party can be substituted and the interest of the deceased capable of being transmitted or transferred to his heirs or personal representatives? See Idris v. ANPP (2008) 8 NWLR (Pt.1088) 1/120 para H., Egbo Edo v. Raymond Nwosu: In Re: Monday Egbon (1978) 5 F.C.A 10113. In the case of In re Otuedon (1995) 4 NWLR (392) 655 @ 667 E-F, the Supreme Court per Iguh JSC (As he then was) held thus: "...apart from the legal rights of administrators, executors or the personal representatives of a deceased person, a dead person ceased to have any legal personality from the moment of death and as such can neither sue nor be sued either personally or in representative capacity. Where however, the cause of action survives the death of a party, such action is not terminated by death. This principle also applies to an appeal. See Nzom v. Linadu (1987) 1 NWLR (pt.51) 533 and Clement Ezenwosu v. Peter Ngonadi (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt.81) 153." See further Re Adeogun (2001) 4 SC (Pt.1) 41 @ 60 lines 10-26, Sellors v. Goode (1892) 3 L.R Ir 298." Per DENTON WEST, J.C.A. (Pp. 46-47, paras. F-G)

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