Thu. Oct 29th, 2020

N10m suit: Oxford University loses bid to stop Nigerian lawyer challenging definition of words

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The Lagos State High Court in Igbosere has dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the University of Oxford, England to challenge a N10m lawsuit filed against it by a Nigerian lawyer, Ogedi Ogu.

Ogu, in his suit before Justice I.O. Harrison, alleged that the words “mortgagee” and “mortgagor” were wrongly defined in the Oxford Dictionary, published by Oxford University Press.

He claimed that he was embarrassed and suffered a loss of reputation as a lawyer when he relied on the definitions of the words in the Oxford Dictionary to offer legal advice to a professional colleague.

He said the professional colleague later pointed out to him that the words were wrongly defined in Oxford Dictionary and since then all his professional colleagues stopped seeking legal advice from him.

Ogu asked the court to order the University of Oxford and Oxford University Press to pay him N10 million in damages.

But the defence counsel, Mrs Funke Adekoya (SAN), filed a preliminary objection, urging the court to dismiss the suit for being incompetent.

Adekoya contended that Ogu did not comply with Section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act in issuing and serving his writ of summons.

She described the writ as “incurably defective,” adding that it was “liable to be set aside.”

The SAN further contended that Oxford University Press, which was joined as 2nd defendant, was a non-juristic entity, which could not be sued because it was only a department under the University of Oxford.

But in her June 30, 2020 ruling, Justice Harrison partly disagreed with Adekoya and dismissed one leg of the preliminary objection.

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