Territorial Jurisdiction for Disputes between Members of a Political Party in Nigeria


Election or political party disputes often feature before Nigerian courts. In Nigeria jurisdiction in matters of conflict of laws (called “territorial jurisdiction” by many Nigerian judges) also applies to matters of disputes between members of a political party in the inter-state context.[1]

In Oshiomhole v Salihu (No. 1)[2] (reported on June 7, 2021), one of the issues for determination was whether the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja possessed territorial jurisdiction to handle a dispute between members of Nigeria’s ruling political party. The 1st defendant/appellant was at the time the National Chairman of the 2nd defendant/appellant (the ruling party in Nigeria). It was alleged by some Members of the party that he had been suspended at the ward level in Edo State and he was thus disqualified from holding the position of National Chairman. The 1st defendant/appellant, inter alia, filed a preliminary objection to the suit and argued that the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did not possess territorial jurisdiction because the cause of action arose in Edo State where he was alleged to have been suspended as the National Chairman. The Court of Appeal (per Onyemenam JCA in his leading judgment) dismissed the preliminary objection and held as follows:


“The issue herein is straightforward. Order 3 rule 4 of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory (Civil Procedure) Rules 2018 provides that:

“All other suits shall where the defendant resides or carries on business or where the cause of action arose in the Federal Capital Territory, be commenced and determined in the High court of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

Online conference Cross-Border Litigation in Central-Europe

The University of Szeged Faculty of Law and the ELKH Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies are organizing an international online conference: “Cross-Border Litigation in Central-Europe: EU Private International Law before National Courts”. The conference will present the main results of the EU-funded CEPIL research project (“Cross-Border Litigation in Central-Europe: EU Private International Law before National Courts”, 800789 — CEPIL — JUST-AG-2017/JUST-JCOO-AG-2017). The CEPIL project inquires whether EU PIL functions optimally in the CE Member States in order to secure “a Europe of law and justice”. It examines whether EU PIL instruments are applied in CE Member States in a correct and uniform manner, whether Member State courts deal appropriately with disputes having a cross-border element and whether the current legal and institutional architecture is susceptible of securing legal certainty and an effective remedy for cross-border litigants. The project’s research output will be published by Kluwer International.

The Supreme Court of Japan on Punitive Damages…

Written by Béligh Elbalti (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Law and Politics – Osaka University)

  1. Introduction

Assume that you successfully obtained a favourable judgment from a foreign court that orders the losing party to pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Assume also that, later, you could obtain a partial satisfaction of the amount awarded by the court by way of compulsory execution in the rendering state. Happy with the outcome and knowing that punitive damages cannot be enforced in Japan, you confidently proceed to enforce the remaining part before a Japanese court arguing that the payment you would like to obtain now corresponds to the compensatory part of the award. Could the judgment be enforced in Japan where punitive damages are considered as contrary to public policy? In other words, to what part of the damages the paid amount corresponds: the compensatory part or the punitive part?

Territorial Jurisdiction for Breach of Contract in Nigeria or whatever

Jurisdiction is a fundamental aspect of Nigerian procedural law. In Nigerian judicial parlance, we have become accustomed to the principle that the issue of jurisdiction can be raised at any time, even at the Nigerian Supreme Court – the highest court of the land – for the first time.[1] The concept of jurisdiction in Nigerian conflict of laws (often called “territorial jurisdiction” by many Nigerian judges) is the most confusing aspect of Nigerian conflict of laws. This is because the decisions are inconsistent and not clear or precise. The purpose of this write up is to briefly highlight the confusion on the concept of jurisdiction in Nigerian conflict of laws through the lens of a very recently reported case (reported last week) of Attorney General of Yobe State v Maska & Anor. (“Maska”).[2]

Foreign Judgments: The Limits of Transnational Issue Estoppel, Reciprocity, and Transnational Comity

Written by Professor Yeo Tiong Min, SC (honoris causa), Yong Pung How Chair Professor of Law, Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University

In Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp v Merck KGaA [2021] SGCA 14, a full bench of the Singapore Court of Appeal addressed the limits of transnational issue estoppel in Singapore law, and flagged possible fundamental changes to the common law on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Singapore. The litigation involves multiple parties spread over different jurisdictions. The specific facts involved in the appeal are fairly straightforward, centring on what has been decided in a judgment from the English court, and whether it could be used to raise issue estoppel on the interpretation of a particular term of the contract between the parties. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the High Court that it could. What makes the case interesting are the wide-ranging observations on the operation of issue estoppel from foreign judgments, and more fundamentally on the basis of the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the common law of Singapore.

Shell litigation in the Dutch courts – milestones for private international law and the fight against climate change

by Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht Univeristy) and Ekaterina Pannebakker (Leiden University), editors

  1. Introduction

As was briefly announced earlier on this blog, on 29 January 2021, the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague gave a ruling in a long-standing litigation launched by four Nigerian farmers and the Dutch Milieudefensie. The Hague Court held Shell Nigeria liable for pollution caused by oil spills that took place in 2004-2007; the UK-Dutch parent company is ordered to install equipment to prevent damage in the future. Though decided almost four months ago, the case merits discussion of several private international law aspects that will perhaps become one of the milestones in the broader context of liability of parent companies for the actions of their foreign-based subsidiaries.

Climate change and related human rights litigation is undoubtedly of increasing importance in private international law. This is also on the radar of the European institutions as evidenced among others  by the ongoing review of the Rome II Regulation (point 6). Today, 26 May 2021, another milestone was reached, both for for private international law but for the fight against global climate change, with the historical judgment (English version, Dutch version) by the Hague District Court ordering Shell to reduce Co2 emissions (point 7). This latter case is discussed more at length in today’s blogpost by Matthias Weller.

  1. Oil spill in Nigeria and litigation in The Hague courts

The Role of the International Social Service in the History of Private International Law

Family Routes Blogby Roxana Banu

The “International Social Service” (initially named “International Migration Service”) was created in 1920 by the Young Women Christian Association as a network of social work branches helping migrant women and children. In 1924 it became an independent transnational network of social work agencies offering socio-legal services to migrants and refugees, irrespective of gender, religion or race. It grew exponentially since then and is now present in over 120 countries helping more than 75,000 families each year. Since its inception and largely unbeknownst to private international law scholars, it worked (and continues to work) on virtually every aspect of transnational family law. In the first half of the twentieth century the ISS used its extensive database of social work case records to draft expert opinions on private international law matters for the League of Nations, bar associations, the US Congress, the Hague Conference on Private International Law and others. It devised and coordinated interdisciplinary teams of experts to conduct research on cross-border family maintenance and cross-border adoptions. It experimented with all sorts of legal arguments in order to push for new claims in private international law, especially in U.S. courts.

One Year of Pandemic-Driven Video Hearings at the German Federal Court of Justice in International Patent Matters: Interview with Federal Judge Hartmut Rensen, Member of the Tenth Panel in Civil Matters

Benedikt Windau, the editor of a fabulous German blog on civil procedural law, www.zpoblog.de, recently interviewed Federal Judge Dr Hartmut Rensen, Member of the Tenth Panel of the division for civil and commercial matters at the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) on the experiences with video hearings in national an international patent matters in the pandemic. I allow myself to pick up a few elements from this fascinating interview in the following for our international audience:

The Tenth Panel functions as a court of first appeal (Berufungsgericht) in patent nullity proceedings and as a court of second appeal for legal review only (Revisionsgericht) in patent infringement proceedings. In both functions, particularly in its function as court of first appeal, actors from all over the world may be involved, and indeed, Judge Rensen reported about parties and their respective representatives and teams from the USA, Japan, South Korea, the UK, France, Italy and Spain during the last year.

How Litigation Imports Foreign Regulation

Guest Post by Diego A. Zambrano, Assistant Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

For years now, the concept of a “Brussels Effect” on global companies has become widely accepted. A simple version of the story goes as follows: the European Union sets global standards across a range of areas simply by virtue of its large market size and willingness to construct systematic regulatory regimes. That is true, for instance, in technology where European privacy regulations force American companies (including Facebook, Google, and Apple) to comply worldwide, lest they segment their markets. As Anu Bradford has expertly argued, it is also true in environmental protection, food safety, antitrust, and other areas. When companies decide to comply with European regulations across markets, the European Union effectively “exports” its regulatory regimes abroad, even to the United States.

In a forthcoming article, How Litigation Imports Foreign Regulation, I argue that foreign regulators not only shape the behavior of American companies—they also influence American litigation. From the French Ministry of Health to the Japanese Fair Trade Commission and the European Commission, I uncover how foreign agencies can have a profound impact on U.S. litigation. In this sense, the “Brussels Effect” is a subset of broader foreign regulatory influence on the American legal system.
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European and International Civil Procedural Law: Some views on new editions of two leading German textbooks

For German-speaking conflict of law friends, especially those with a strong interest in its procedural perspective (and this seems to apply to almost all of them by now, I guess), the year 2021 has begun beautifully, as far as academic publications are concerned. Two fantastic textbooks were released, one on European civil procedural law, and one on international civil procedural law:

After more than ten years the second edition of Burkhard Hess’s 2nd edition of  his textbook on „Europäisches Zivilprozessrecht“ is now on the table, 1026 pages, a plus of nearly 300 pages and now part of the renowned series „Ius Communitatis“ by DeGruyter. It is a fascinating account of the foundations („Grundlegung“, Part 1, pp. 3 – 311) of European civil procedure as well as a sharp analysis of the instruments of EU law („Europäisches internationales Zivilprozessrecht“, Part 2, pp. 313 – 782). Part 3 focuses on the interplay between autonomous and European procedural law (pp. 783 – 976). Extensive tables of the cases by the ECJ and the ECtHR as well as a large subject index help to access directly the points in question. The foreword rightly points out that European civil procedural law has reached a new phase. Whereas 10 years ago, the execution of the agenda under the then still new competency in (now) Article 81 TFEU was at issue, today enthusiasm and speed have diminished. Indeed, the ECJ had to, and still has to, defend „the fundamental principles of EU law, namely mutual trust and mutual recognition, against populist attacks and growing breaks of taboos by right-wing populist governments in several Member States“ (Foreword, p. 1, translation here and all following ones by myself; see also pp. 93 et seq. on the struggle for securing independence of the national judge in Hungary and Poland as a matter of the EU‘s fundamental values, Article 2 TEU). At the same time, the EU legislator and the ECJ had shown tendencies towards overstreching the legitimatory potential of the principle of mutual trust before the EU returned to „recognition with open eyes“ (as is further spelled out at para. 3.34, at p. 119), as opposed to blind trust – tendencies that worried many observers in the interest of the rule of law and a convincing balancing of the freedom of movement for judgments and other juridical acts. The overall positive view by Hess on the EU’s dynamic patterns of judicial cooperation in civil matters, combined with the admirable clarity and comprehensiveness of his textbook, will certainly contribute considerably to address these challenges.

Equally admirable for its clarity and comprehensiveness is Haimo Schack’s 8th edition of his textbook on „Internationales Zivilverfahrensrecht“, including international insolvency and international arbitration, 646 pp., now elevated from the „short textbook series“ to the „large textbook series“ at C.H.Beck. The first part addresses foundations of the subject (pp. 1 – 68), the second part describes the limits of adjudicatory authority under public international law (pp. 69 – 90), the third part analyses all international aspects of the main proceedings (pp. 91 – 334), the fourth part recognition and enforcement (pp. 335 – 427), the fifth and sixth part deal with insolvency (pp. 428 – 472) and arbitration (pp. 473 – 544). Again, an extensive table of cases and a subject index are offered as valuable help to the user. Schack is known for rather sceptical positions when it comes to the narrative of mutual trust. In his sharp analysis of the foundations of international procedural law, he very aptly states that the principle of equality („Gleichheit“) is of fundamental relevance, including the assumption of a principal equivalence of the adminstrations of justice by foreign states, which allows trust in and integration of foreign judicial acts and foreign laws into one’s own administration of justice: „Auf die Anwendung eigenen Rechts und die Durchführung eines Verfahrens im Inland kann man verzichten, weil und soweit man darauf vertraut, dass das ausländische Recht bzw. Verfahren dem inländischen äquivalent ist“ (We may waive the application of our own law and domestic proceedings because and as far as we trust in the foreign law and the foreign proceedings are equivalent to one’s own, para. 39, at p. 12) – a fundamental insight based, inter alia, on conceptual thinking by Alois Mittermaier in the earlier parts of the 19th century (AcP 14 [1831], pp. 84 et seq., at pp. 95, justifying recognition of foreign judgments by the assumption that the foreign judge should, in principle, be considered „as honest and learned as one’s own“), but of course also on Friedrich Carl v. Sagigny, which I allowed myself to further substantiate and transcend elsewhere to the finding: to trust or not to trust – that is the question of private international law (M. Weller, RdC, forthcoming). In Schack’s view, „the ambitious and radical projects“ of the EU in this respect „fail to meet with reality“ (para. 126, at p. 50). Equally sceptical are his views on the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention („Blütenträume“, para. 141, at p. 57, in translation something like „daydreams“).

Perhaps, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, namely in a solid „trust management“, as I tried to unfold elsewhere.