A critique on the doctrine of pre-action notice in Nigeria

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The procedural aspect of the law is generally provided in the various Rules of Court which are applied from the Magistrates’ Courts to the Supreme Court. Rules of Court are meant to be obeyed. Apart from Rules of Court, there are other statutes which provide for procedure. Apart from Rules of Court or statutes which are specifically enacted to regulate procedure, other statutes which establish corporations for example, also stipulate procedural requirements. A good number of pre-action notices can be found in such statutes. The law is that where a statute has provided for how something should be done, such a provision must be complied with. It is indeed a concern that the applicability of pre-action notice is not in consonance with the spirit of the rule of law. It is important to note that a deep-rooted analysis of relevant procedural law does not in fact guarantee pre-action notice any justification. No useful purpose is achieved by continuing to uphold the constitutionality of pre-action notices. The reasons which are used to justify the notices can be dispensed with. A letter from a prospective plaintiff or his agent should be enough to commence a process of deciding whether to make reparations to the plaintiff or not. Anachronistic rules such as pre-action notices serve no end of justice and it is often a procedural requirement which is employed by defendants to delay or deny an inquiry into the merits of the case. They also cause untold hardship. The aim of this work is to distill the inadequacies and excesses of pre-action notice as currently applicable in Nigeria. This work will also look at the position of other countries as it relates to the doctrine of pre-action notice and finally proffer solutions. This work is divided into five chapters. Chapter One deals with the general introduction while Chapter Two deals with the doctrine of pre-action notice as it applies in Nigeria. Chapter Three deals with the doctrine of pre-action notice as an obstacle to justice while Chapter Four deals with the application of the doctrine of pre-action notice in foreign jurisdictions. Finally, Chapter Five deals with the conclusion and recommendations. pre-action notice

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