EVIDENTIARY RULES ON ADMISSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE UNDER NIGERIAN EVIDENCE ACT 2011: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL

Aminu Muhammad 177 PAGES (50908 WORDS) Project
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ABSTRACT

This Dissertation provided a critical conceptual discourse into the Evidentiary Rules On Admissibility  of  Documentary  Evidence  Under  Nigerian  Evidence  Act  2011.  It appraised the bases for the admissibility of documentary evidence, rules of evidence, relevance and conditions for the admissibility of secondary evidence, public document, proof of documentary evidence, custody and production of public documents, proof of execution of documents, admissibility of statements made in computers, and conditions for the admissibility of documentary evidence as to fact in issue. It also appraised the rules  on  admissibility of  documentary  evidence  under the  Nigerian  Law  to  ascertain what  factors  that  determine  the  admissibility  and  inadmissibility  of  documentary evidence and it examined the extent to which computer generated evidence is made part of  admissible  documentary  evidence  under  the  Evidence  Act  2011.  Evidence  is  the cornerstone  of  litigation  and  indispensable  for  a  fair  justice  system  in  Nigeria.  This dissertation  therefore  aimed  at  bringing  out  issues  faced  by  the  Lawyers,  Courts, theorists and  Students  of  Law relating to  the  admissibility of documentary evidence; solving problems faced by Students of Law and Lawyers on issues of proper foundation to  be  laid  and  the  mode  of  tendering  the  documentary  evidence  and  principally, recommending areas and manner of legal reform as to the admissibility of documentary evidence  by  making  an  exposition  on  a  very  fundamental  rule  on  documentary evidence. The separation of section 89 and 90 of the Evidence Act and the alteration of sections in 1990 Evidence Act which has the same principles under 2011 Evidence Act, made comprehension and interpretation of above sections difficult. The five subsections in  section  83  constitute  a  sort  of  nightmare  to  many  Students  of  Law  and  even  the Lawyers sometimes are confused as to the application of its provisions. Making it worse is the use of the words „provided‟, „except‟, and „unless‟. Also, in addition to the issues raised above, the  failure of the Act  in  not  defining the  nature  of electronic signature compounded the confusion, difficulties and obscurity of meaning of evidence it sought to  enshrine,  legislate or  enforce and  so we  can  only conclude  that  the  provisions  of section 83 are cumbersome and they ordinarily portend challenges to understanding and thus interpretation and would need material revision and redrafting. The legal research methodology adopted in collecting information is the doctrinal method. The doctrinal research is  priori research  method which involves research in text  books, statute and cases.  The  findings  of  the  study  significantly  included  the  difficulty  which  the separation of S. 89 and 90 Evidence Act posed to Students of Law, and the absence of the  definition  of the  nature of  electronic  signature.  It  is therefore  recommended that there is immediate need for legislative reform to redress the issues for proper drafting, interpretation  and  understanding  for-instance  the  issues  relating to  the  use  of  simple English to replace the words „provided‟, „except‟, and „unless‟ for easy understanding. The need for legislative amendment of S. 89 and 90 which was separated, should be redrafted  under  one  section  for  easy  interpretation  and  understanding  and  the amendment  of Section  83(4)  to  provide  for  the  nature  of  electronic  signature  for  its admissibility purposes. 

 TABLE OF CONTENTS   

Title Page …………………………………………………………………... I

Declaration …………………………………………………………………. Ii

Certification ………………………………………………………………... Iii

Dedication …………………………………………………………………. Iv

Acknowledgement …………………………………………………………  V

Abstract ……………………………………………………………………. Vi

Table of Contents ………………………………………………………….. Vii

Table of Cases ……………………………………………………………… Xii

Table of Statutes …………………………………………………………… Xvii

List of Abbreviations …………………………………………………….. Xviii   

CHAPTER ONE 

General Introduction …………………………….……………………...  1

1.1  Background to the Study……………………………………………. 1 1.2  Statement of Problems ……………………………………………... 5

1.3  Aim and Objective of the Study ……………………………… 7

1.4  Justification of the Study …………………………………….…. 7

1.5  Scope of the Study ……………………………………………… 7

1.6  Research Methodology …………………………………………….. 8

1.7  Literature Review ………………………………………………….. 8

1.8  Organisational Layout ……………………………………………… 25     

 CHAPTER TWO Nature And Classification of Documentary Evidence ……………… 27   

2.1  Introduction ………………………………………………………… 27

2.1.2    Nature of Documentary Evidence …………………………………. 27

2.1.3    Scope of Documentary Evidence ………………………………….. 29

2.1.4    Meaning of Documentary Evidence ……………………………….. 30

2.1.5  Types and Classification of Documentary Evidence ……………… 36 

2.5  Types of Primary and Secondary Documentary Evidence      47

2.5.1  Types of Primary Evidence  ……………………………………… 47

2.5.2  Document Itself as Primary Evidence ………………………….. 48

2.5.3  Document Executed in Several Parts ……………………………. 52

2.5.4   Document Executed in Counterpart ……………………………… 53

2.5.5   Document Made by Uniform Process ……………………………. 55

2.5.6   Types of Secondary Evidence ……………………………………. 56

2.6      Admissibility and Weight of Evidence……………………………. 58

2.6.1   Admissibility ………………………………………………………. 58 

CHAPTER THREE  Proof of Documentary Evidence ……………………….……………...  60   

3.1  Introduction ………………………………………………………… 60

3.2  Proof of Contents of Documents …………………………………… 61

3.3      Proof of Contents of Public Document …………………………… 62

3.4     Proof of Contents of Private Document …………………………. 82

3.5     Admissibility of Secondary Evidence …………………………… 83 

 3.6     Circumstances or Conditions in Which Secondary Evidence May be Admissible in Evidence ……………………………………………. 84 3.7  Foundation to be Laid ……………………………………………. 86

3.8       Admissibility and Proper Custody of Documents ………………… 92 3.8.1   Admissibility ………………………………………………………... 92

3.8.2  Custody and Production of Public Document ………… 96 3.8.3  Proof of Execution of Document …………………………………... 102

3.8.4  Evidence of Handwriting …………………………………………... 107 

4.0      Opinion Evidence in Relation to Handwriting …………………….. 108

4.1      Non-Expert Opinion ………………………………………………… 108

4.2      Expert Opinion ……………………………………………………… 109

4.3  Evidence of Signature ……………………………………………… 114

4.4      Presumption as to Handwriting in Documents 20  Years Old ……. 115 

CHAPTER FOUR 

Admissibility of Documentary Evidence Under Sections 83 And 84 of The Evidence Act, 2011 ………………………………………………….   117

4.1  Introduction ………………………………………………………… 117

Appraisal of the Rules on Admissibility of Documentary Evidence as to fact issue under Section 83 ……………………………………  121

4.2.1  Admissibility of Documents Made By a Person in Any Proceeding …………………………………………………………………………….. 121

4.2.2  If  the  Maker  of  the  Document  had  Personal  Knowledge  of  the Matters Dealt With By the Statement ………………………….. 122

4.2.3  Where the Document Forms Part of the Record Purporting To Be A 122 

 x  Continuous Record ………………………………………………………..

4.2.4  If  the  Maker  of  the  Statement  is  Called  as  a  Witness  in  the Proceeding ……………………………………………………….. 124

4.2.5  The  Discretion  of  the  Court  to  Admit  a  Statement  Made  by  the Maker In Any Proceeding ……………………………………… 125

4.2.6  The  Inadmissibility  of  Document  Made  by  an  Interested  Person When Is the Proceeding Is Pending Or Anticipated  …………….. 126

4.2.7  Admissibility of Document Signed or Initialed By the Maker …… 134

4.2.8  Basis  for  Admissibility  of  Certificate  of  a  Registered  Medical Practitioner ………………………………………………………… 136

5.0  Admissibility of Statement in Document Produced By Computers.. 137

5.1  Admissibility of Computer Generated Document and Conditions to be Laid …………………………………………………………….. 137

5.2        Admissibility  of  Statements  Produced  From  Different  or Combination of Computers  ……………………………………….. 143

5.3        Basis  for  Admissibility  of  Certificate  Signed  By  a  Person  In  a Responsible Position ……………………………………………….. 145

5.4      Conditions To Be Laid for an Information To Be  Duly Supplied or Produced By a Computer ………………………………………….. 147      

 

CHAPTER FIVE  Summary and Conclusion……………………….……………………. 149 

 5.1  Summary …..…………………………………………………… 149

5.2  Findings ………………………………………………………… 151

5.3  Recommendations ………………………………………………. 151

5.4      Conclusion ……………………………………………………….. 153   

Bibliography ……………………………………………………………… 154

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APA

Aminu, M (2019). EVIDENTIARY RULES ON ADMISSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE UNDER NIGERIAN EVIDENCE ACT 2011: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL. Afribary.com: Retrieved September 18, 2019, from https://afribary.com/works/evidentiary-rules-on-admissibility-of-documentary-evidence-under-nigerian-evidence-act-2011-ii

MLA 8th

Muhammad, Aminu. "EVIDENTIARY RULES ON ADMISSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE UNDER NIGERIAN EVIDENCE ACT 2011: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 06 Sep. 2019, https://afribary.com/works/evidentiary-rules-on-admissibility-of-documentary-evidence-under-nigerian-evidence-act-2011-ii . Accessed 18 Sep. 2019.

MLA7

Muhammad, Aminu. "EVIDENTIARY RULES ON ADMISSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE UNDER NIGERIAN EVIDENCE ACT 2011: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 06 Sep. 2019. Web. 18 Sep. 2019. < https://afribary.com/works/evidentiary-rules-on-admissibility-of-documentary-evidence-under-nigerian-evidence-act-2011-ii >.

Chicago

Muhammad, Aminu. "EVIDENTIARY RULES ON ADMISSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE UNDER NIGERIAN EVIDENCE ACT 2011: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL" Afribary.com (2019). Accessed September 18, 2019. https://afribary.com/works/evidentiary-rules-on-admissibility-of-documentary-evidence-under-nigerian-evidence-act-2011-ii