INTRODUCTION TO THE LAW OF EVIDENCE



SYNOPTIC GUIDE 
1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION 

2. DEFINITION:  
     Various definitions by different writers and the introduction into Nigeria since 1943. Quite a number of scholars have defined ‘Evidence’ but in summary it is about means of proof and disproof.
  
3. SOURCES OF EVIDENCE IN NIGERIA: 
     a. Statute i.e. Evidence Act b. Common Law decisions which are not inconsistent with the provision of statutes in Nigeria c. S. 5(a) EA allows for other evidence not contained in the Act. 


4. RELEVANCY AND ADMISSIBILITY: 
         Relevancy determines admissibility. In other words, all admissible facts are relevant but not all relevant facts are admissible. See sections 6-17 which deal with specific instances where the EA states the circumstances where a fact is relevant. S. 17 EA deals with particular evidence. In other words, the law looks at similar occurrences and determines under what circumstances one may admit such occurrences. See the case of Makin v DPP and R v Akerele. 
    
    5. ESTOPPEL: 
         This is a situation where a person is precluded from contradicting what has been represented. We must first consider estoppel under Common Law. Here we look at land law, that is, landlord and tenant, shipping where goods have been laden on a ship etc. Then we move on to consider types of estoppel under the Evidence Act. 
   
    6. PRESUMPTIONS: 
         This refers to assumptions of law and assumptions of facts. By law they need not be proved though some may be rebutted. For example, by virtue of the Criminal Code, a person under the age of seven is not liable for any act or omission under the Act. This is an irrefutable presumption of law. 
   
    7. JUDICIAL NOTICE:  
         This refers to facts which the courts must take notice of and hold that they need not be proved. For example, under the Yoruba customary law, an illegitimate child can be legitimated by the father acknowledging his paternity. 

    8. ADMISSION AND CONFESSION: Admission is applicable in civil cases. It can be by tender of documents. The courts have also held at different times that the conduct of a person or a party constitutes an admission or a non-admission (Bessela v Stern). Confessions on the other hand are more applicable in criminal proceedings. Once a person confesses that he committed the said offense, there’s usually no need for more evidence. However, because of the danger of persons being made to confess under threat, the law disallows confessions obtained by oppression. Where the confession was obtained by moral adjuration, such confession is admissible. Ultimately, we must look at the judges’ rules which provides a guideline to be used by law enforcement agencies involved in the interrogation of accused persons.  

    9. BURDEN AND STANDARD OF PROOF: This borders on the question of who has the obligation to prove a case. Usually a plaintiff in civil cases has to prove his case. In criminal cases, it is the prosecution who has to prove that the accused has committed a crime. See Woolmington v DPP.


Recommended Texts 
1. Modern Nigerian Law of Evidence by Nwadialo 
2. Law of Evidence by Aguda 
3.Cross on Evidence 
4. Phipson on Evidence 
5. Articles.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PROMOTERS AND PREINCORPORATION CONTRACTS

CORROBORATION

LAW AND REVOLUTION