THE APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR IN NIGERIA

THE APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT  

Of the numerous Latin phrases that have crept into law, the maxim res ipsa loquitur is perhaps the best known. Yet, this innocuous phrase, which means nothing more than "the thing speaks for itself," has been the source of much confusion and disagreement. This divergence of opinion is centred around the proper application and the procedural effect of the rules which have been promulgated by the courts in giving effect to and in applying this phrase. This study therefore has the objective of critiquing the application of the doctrine in Nigeria. In doing this, it examines instances of its use and also conducts a comparative analysis with the Jurisdictions of England and the United States of America, which courts are seen as well developed and thought leaders in this direction.

The principle of Res Ipsa Loquitur is simple, whereas in a case of negligence, the plaintiff must prove by evidence, regarding the defendant’s conducts, that the defendant was negligent, but when the plaintiff does not know how and why the accident happened, in such a case the plaintiff can invoke the assistant of the rule of evidence known by the latin maxim Res ipsa loquitur (“the event speaks for itself”), thereby shifting the burden of proof to the defendant, to prove that they were not negligent.

Since its inception, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur has produced conflict, confusion, and doubt. In Nigeria, the requirement under which the doctrine of “res ipsa loquitur” becomes operative includes firstly, proof of the happening of an unexplained occurrence, secondly, the occurrence must be one which would not have happened in the ordinary course of things without negligence on the part of somebody other than the plaintiff, and lastly, the circumstances must point to the negligence in question being that of the defendant rather than that of any other person.

Findings revealed that compared to the other two legal systems used as basis, there is legal clarity with regard to the nature, requirements for and especially the effect of the application of the doctrine on the onus of proof in Nigeria. The approach followed by the courts is that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is a permissible factual inference which the court is at liberty but not compelled to make and which does not affect the onus of proof, which can either be with the plaintiff or the defendant.  Normally the onus of proof of the negligence alleged at the onset is on the plaintiff, but where this doctrine is applicable, after evidence of how the accident occurred is given by the plaintiff, the onus shifts on the defendant to offer an explanation as to why the accident happened. Such explanation would seek to show that the defendant is not at fault.

It is also quite clear that in Nigeria, the plaintiff can only rely on the doctrine if the cause of the accident remains unknown, whereas in America, the doctrine can still hold if the plaintiff has partial knowledge of the cause. On rebuttal by the defendant, the nature of the explanation is such that although it should conform to certain rather stringent principles it is not expected of the defendant to prove his blamelessness on a balance of probabilities. This implies that if, after all the evidence is in, the probabilities are still equal, the defendant should prevail.

Conclusively, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is basically an application of principles of circumstantial evidence. The traditional elements that must be shown by a plaintiff who seeks to invoke the doctrine are merely factors by which the defendant may be so closely connected with the fact of plaintiff's injury as to make the inference that his negligence caused the injury more plausible than any other.

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How To Write Chapter Three Of Your Research Project (Research Methodology)

  • Methodology In Research Paper


    Chapter three of the research project or the research methodology is another significant part of the research project writing. In developing the chapter three of the research project, you state the purpose of research, research method you wish to adopt, the instruments to be used, where you will collect your data, types of data collection, and how you collected it.

    This chapter explains the different methods to be used in the research project. Here you mention the procedures and strategies you will employ in the study such as research design, study design in research, research area (area of the study), the population of the study, etc. You also tell the reader your research design methods, why you chose a particular method, method of analysis, how you planned to analyze your data.

    Your methodology should be written in a simple language such that other researchers can follow the method and arrive at the same conclusion or findings.

    You can choose a survey design when you want to survey a particular location or behavior by administering instruments such as structured questionnaires, interviews, or experimental; if you intend manipulating some variables.

    The purpose of chapter three (research methodology) is to give an experienced investigator enough information to replicate the study. Some supervisors do not understand this and require students to write what is in effect, a textbook.

    A research design is used to structure the research and to show how all of the major parts of the research project, including the sample, measures, and methods of assignment, work together to address the central research questions in the study. The chapter three should begin with a paragraph reiterating the purpose of research. It is very important that before choosing design methods try and ask yourself the following questions: Will I generate enough information that will help me to solve the research problem by adopting this method?

    Method vs Methodology

    I think the most appropriate in methods versus methodology is to think in terms of their inter-connectedness and relationship between both. You should not beging thinking so much about research methods without thinking of developing a research methodology.

    Metodologia or methodology is the consideration of your research objectives and the most effective method and approach to meet those objectives. That is to say that methodology in research paper is the first step in planning a research project work.

    Design Methodology: Methodological Approach

    Example of methodology in research paper, you are attempting to identify the influence of personality on a road accident, you may wish to look at different personality types, you may also look at accident records from the FRSC, you may also wish to look at the personality of drivers that are accident victims, once you adopt this method, you are already doing a survey, and that becomes your metodologia or methodology.

    Your methodology should aim to provide you with the information to allow you to come to some conclusions about the personalities that are susceptible to a road accident or those personality types that are likely to have a road accident.

    The following subjects may or may not be in the order required by a particular institution of higher education, but all of the subjects constitute a defensible in metodologia or methodology chapter.

    Click here to complete this article - How To Write Chapter Three Of Your Research Project (Research Methodology)

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