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Part 3

Original Jurisdiction

17. With respect to the exercise of the original jurisdiction conferred upon the Supreme Court by subsection (1) of section 212 of the Constitution or which may be conferred upon it in pursuance of section 212(2) of the Constitution, the following provisions shall apply-

(a) subject to the express provisions of any enactment, law and equity shall be administered concurrently;

(b) in every cause or matter pending before it the Supreme court shall grant, either absolutely or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just, all such remedies whatsoever as any of the parties thereto may appear to be entitled to in respect of any legal or equitable claim properly brought forward by them in the cause or matter, so that, as far as possible, all matters in controversy between the parties may be completely and finally determined, and all multiplicity of legal proceedings concerning any of those matters avoided;

(c) subject to the express provisions of any enactment, in all matters in which there was formerly or is any conflict or variance between the rules of equity and the rules of the common law with reference to the same matter, the rules of equity shall prevail;

(d) in addition to any other powers conferred upon the Supreme Court by any enactment, the Supreme Court shall, have and may exercise all powers and authorities which are vested in or capable of being exercised by it under the Constitution of the  Republic of Benin;

(e) the Supreme Court shall observe and enforce the observance of customary law to the same extent as such law is observed and enforced in the Benin Courts.

18. (1) For the purpose of any cause before the Supreme Court in its original jurisdiction the Court may require the attendance of persons to give evidence or to produce documents or both.

(2) Any person present in court during the hearing of any such cause may, if the Court thinks fit, be ordered to give evidence or to produce documents.

(3) A Justice of the Supreme Court, if it appears to him that the attendance of any person confined in any part of the Federation as a prisoner under any sentence or order or commitment for trial or otherwise, or under civil process, is necessary for the purpose of obtaining evidence in any such cause as aforesaid pending or to be inquired of in the court, may issue a warrant for bringing up the said person before the court and the superintendent of the prison or other officer in whose custody the person is shall forthwith obey such warrant.

19. (1) This section shall apply to any cause or matter which is in respect of any of the matters mentioned in section 212(1) of the Constitution.

(2) The Supreme Court may order any cause or matter which is before it to be transferred to a High Court or magistrate's court having ordinary jurisdiction in the place where the cause of action arose and power to grant the relief sought, for hearing and determining, or to be otherwise disposed of by such court.

(3) Where an Order of Transfer is made under subsection (2) of this section the court to which the cause or matter is transferred shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine it, to the extent set out in the Order of Transfer, as if it were a cause or matter within the ordinary jurisdiction of that court.

(4) A transfer under subsection (2) of this section may be ordered at any time and at any stage of the proceedings in a cause or matter before final judgment, and either with or without application in that behalf by any of the parties thereto, and may apply to any cause or matter in its entirety or in respect of any part thereof or procedure required to be taken therein.

20. Any proceedings before the Supreme Court arising out of a dispute referred to in section 212(1) of the Constitution and brought by or against the Federation or a State shall-

(a) in the case of the Federation be brought in the name of the Attorney-General of the Federation;

(b) in the case of a State be brought in the name of the Attorney-General of the State.

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