Best Distance Learning Programs For Criminal Justice

Over the past few years criminal justice has emerged as one of the broad fields in the United States that encompasses many functions in society’s efforts to control crime. It is one of the few professions that have constantly demanded well trained specialists, who can enforce laws, prosecute and rehabilitate adult and immature offenders, assist victims, and prevent crime from occurring through successful security and deterrence. Consequently, in last few years the demand for criminal justice programs has boomed drastically. It is one of the few degrees that can start or advance your career in this exciting field by qualifying you for diverse profile like: Law Enforcement Officer, Criminal Forensic Specialist or Investigator and Special Agent at the local, state and federal level.

One of the best benefits with an education and career in criminal justice is the knowledge that you can contribute to protect your community and country. Once you make a start in this profession, you can be proud of the role you play in keeping this world safe every single day. There are many career paths available to those who go to school for a criminal justice degree. Apart from this, there are numerous online criminal justice courses and distance learning programs that are being offered from leading universities. The best thing about these courses or distance learning degrees is that they are affordable and comparatively easy to learn. These distance learning programs cover a broad spectrum of subjects. Here, are just few of them that can let you select:

Cyber Security Distance Learning Program — This is one of the few programs that can provide you an exciting career opportunity in criminal justice. In recent times, the demand for cyber security has increased and will increase as per the FBI. Now selecting an online degree program of Cyber Security can help you learn how to be responsible for managing network information system security, including criminal investigation and database protection. Besides this, the program will help you gain skills on issues such as internet security assessment, security preparation and creating plans for the effective and rapid response to security breaches. This program will enable you to resolve security gaps, apply and use layered security models and investigate cyber crime.

Disaster Medicine & Management Distance Learning Program — This program is meant for medical, public-safety and defense professionals working in the public and private sectors. Offered in a flexible and distance learning format, this program generally aims to prepare graduates with the skills needed to practice disaster mitigation, attentiveness, reaction and long-term recovery activities within a complex technological society such as the United States. The degree program also aims to train graduates with problem solving and management skills essentially required for the co-ordination of complex situations following technological and natural disasters. It is one of the few comprehensive online graduate-degree programs encompassing all facets of disaster management. Emergency & Disaster Management Distance Learning Program — The nature of disasters and large-scale disastrous emergency events requires professionals with the background and education that deal with natural and man-made hazards. The degree in emergency and disaster management is just one of the few programs that can prepare you manage emergency and public safety properly. From the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe, this emergency and disaster management can introduce you to important areas such as emergency and disaster management phases, risk assessment, prevention and management, mitigation, and recovery. The unique feature of this course is its wider scope that includes both pre and post disaster event responses. Apart from this, today it is one of the few programs in criminal justice domain that let you enjoy good salary. Hence, if you are interested in disaster management career, it is a good opportunity for you to get start your career now.

Forensic Science Distance Learning Program — In last few years, scientific advances, such as the utilization of DNA to decisively tie suspects to a crime scene, have expanded the applications of science and technology in law enforcement and private security. This in turn has increased the demand for a variety of forensic specialists. An online degree in criminal justice with a specialty in forensic science can help you qualify you to meet this demand. Once you attain a degree in forensic science you may work as forensic specialists or crime scene investigators who generally examine fraud and embezzlement. Apart from this, an online forensic science degree is not limited to a career in criminal justice. The courses also provide a strong background in chemical analysis, as well as biology, and anatomy. As such, you may even provide ideal preparation for work in medical examiner or coroner’s offices, clinical chemistry laboratories, and the pharmaceutical industry as well.

These are few online criminal justice programs that can let play some of the important job responsibilities that may result in managing a crime or any disaster in an effective manner. Earning any of the above mentioned degrees through a distance learning program can be a good decision provided that you select a program from an accredited online institution.

What The Appointment Of Jess Sessions Might Mean For Corporate Criminal Law

One of the biggest reasons people feared a Trump administration is because, being a businessman himself, some Americans worry that he will give special favors to corporations. Since the Attorney General is responsible for prosecuting corporate crimes, many are wondering how Jess Sessions’ appointment might affect corporate prosecutions in the future. Many civil liberties and civil rights groups are in direct opposition to a Sessions’ appointment for significant reasons.

Flashback to when George W. Bush nominated John Ashcroft: many worried that Ashcroft would be more lenient on corporate indiscretions and crime, but that didn’t happen. In fact, he was responsible for one of the highest number of criminal prosecutions in history. With Ashcroft in charge during such scandals as Worldcom, Enron and watching the dot-com burst, the Department of Justice indicted many high-profile offenders during the George W. Bush Administration. Big corporate heads like Arthur Andersen went bust, thanks to Ashcroft’s diligence.

So, should corporate America be happy or not about Sessions’ appointment? Many who know his record believe that they should expect the same from Sessions as they did from Ashcroft — swift and severe punishment for crimes. The Department of Justice consists of very few politicians. It is made almost wholly from career prosecutors, which is unlikely to change. So, although Sessions will have some effect, it is likely to be limited.

Sessions is probably going to enhance the Department of Justice’s enforcement of immigration laws, which means that corporations may face stiffer and harsher punishments when they decide to employ undocumented help. Senator Sessions also has a good record when it comes to white-collar crimes. He has consistently favored a more aggressive approach to enforcing the law. So civil liberties organizations should have their fears calmed, but corporate America may have to be on their toes.

Sessions worked for the Department of Justice for 14 years as an Assistant US Attorney in Alabama, and 12 years as a US Attorney. It is hard to tell from his experience if he will be tough on corporate crime, because very few corporations resided in his district.

He is slated as taking a major role in the Savings and Loan fraud prosecution, however, which occurred when he was a US Attorney. His handling of the situation proved that he took criminal law seriously, regardless of whether it was white-collar crime or not. “A crime is a crime,” in Sessions’ own words.

When BP had the oil spill, Sessions is on record as stating that they should be held liable for what was their responsibility. He went on to say that there is no such thing as being too big to fail. That means that he is unlikely to be swayed by the economic impact that the fall of a corporation could have in relation to their criminal activity prosecution. Crime needs to be punished when it is committed, no matter who the defendant is or what type of influence they have.

Sessions believes the whole notion of “too big to fail” is fundamentally dangerous. If the courts prosecute according to shareholders and stakes, then there is no honesty or realism in criminal law. If a corporation is defrauding people, then they are hurting everyone.

He is also not in favor of allowing boards or any consumer attorney to mitigate the details of any case, nor does he believe corporations should be allowed to handle an investigation alone without the intervention of the Justice Department. Sessions has publicly stated several times that there is no such thing as privilege when it comes to corporate crimes.

Although many on the left are concerned that Sessions is too conservative to become the District Attorney for a Trump administration, they are overlooking his statements and his conduct when it comes to criminal law and corporate crime. With the public statement that a crime is a crime regardless of who perpetrates it, Sessions’ appointment is likely to come down hard on corporate crime, not afford it leniency.

The ones who should probably fear an appointment are those in the corporate world who are guilty of wrongdoing. Shown to be fair-minded and not ascribe to any notions of privilege, Sessions has a record of being tough on crime, even corporate criminals.

Statute of Limitations and Why They Matter to You

In a perfect world, there would be no limit on the amount of time that the law gives for victims to pursue justice. In some cases, such as murder, there isn’t a time limit, but for many others, such as for people that suffer injury or loss in an accident caused by someone else, the law has created statutes of limitations. The benefits of these regulations are twofold; on the one hand they to help reduce the strain on an already overtaxed court system from having to maintain evidence and enact discovery of cases long past their prime, and on the other hand it helps motivate people to do what’s right, to pursue restitution and justice for the wrongs they suffer.

The statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases in San Diego is two years from the date of the accident. That means the day you suffer injury the clock starts running, and once two years elapse you can no longer go to the courts to pursue a lawsuit. Your chance for justice has passed, and you will be left to languish in your suffering, cursing your situation and bemoaning your fate.

The exception to this rule is injuries that occur before someone reaches their 18th birthday. Children that suffer a personal injury caused by the negligence or irresponsibility have two years after they turn 18 to begin a lawsuit, otherwise the chance is lost forever.

So what does this mean to someone that is the victim of an injury caused by someone else? Well it means that you must act quickly and get started on your case. No one wants to suffer needlessly, and everyone should take advantage of the law and the opportunities it provides for people to pursue justice.

The best thing you can do if you are in such a situation is to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Once you hire a legal representative, they will take on your case and make sure that your rights are protected, you get the medical help you need, and begin to put together evidence for your case so that you can get the financial compensation you deserve. The sooner you do this, the better, because personal injury accident cases in San Diego often involve a number of legal and medical issues that can change, and these changes can influence the amount of settlement or verdict you receive later on.

None of this is possible if you fail to act quickly after your accident. Remember, if you endured pain and suffering because of a personal injury accident in San Diego, you have only two years to begin your case before the time outlined by the California statute of limitations elapses.

You have already endured so much. Don’t compound your suffering by failing to take the steps necessary to take legal action against the entity responsible for your situation. You deserve financial restitution. Don’t miss your chance for justice.

A Guide to Earning Criminally High Salaries in Criminal Justice

The legal profession is generally considered a lucrative profession. Qualified and experienced legal experts are very well paid and some of these professionals have great allowances in accordance with the very important jobs they do. People who are keen on a career in criminal justice also have a lot of viable options. This is because apart from the obvious choices of practicing criminal law, there are opportunities in a number of other areas too.

Success in the criminal justice system is based on qualification, experience and length of service on the job. For this reason, anybody who is interested in making progress in criminal law will do well to get a law degree. This is the most important qualification for careers in criminal justice. Again, a qualified lawyer is a very marketable individual because he or she can never be short of viable options.

With a degree in law and a specialization in criminal law, there is no limit to how much the lawyer in question can earn. One great option would be for the person in question to work for a reputable law firm. For lawyers in large firm, entry level salaries can be as high as $50,000 per year. This figure can rise to over $100,000 per year after a few years. Lawyers who become partners can earn even more and some star attorneys earn up to one million dollars per year. The lawyer in question can also set up his or her own legal firm after some years of working at a large legal firm. Successful lawyers in criminal law can make a fortune from practicing law if they have the right clients and if they are good at the job.

Some lawyers who have the inclination to serve the public can also get very safe and well-paid jobs in the American legal system. Some of the positions include those of prosecutors, judges and senior magistrates. In the federal court system, most judges earn over $165,000 per year. Supreme Court judges earn over $200,000 per year and judges who work for courts run by the states earn over $100,000 per year. Even with inflation and rising cost of living, these are decent salaries. There is the added advantage of job security and the fact that there is very little risk of downsizing for people who work in the criminal justice system.

It is also a fact that lawyers can work for law enforcement agencies and make good money. Senior police officers for instance earn salaries in excess of a hundred thousand dollars per year. The same thing applies to senior agents in the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It has to be admitted that these are very dangerous jobs and most people with law degrees may not want to go into a career in law enforcement. The fact is the agents and field officers in these risky professions have generous allowances and other perks to make up for the risk they take in the course of doing their jobs.

As stated already, there are many options for people who want to have a career in the criminal justice system. The options include working for courts and working for law enforcement agencies. Most of these jobs are safe but some are quite risky. In most cases, the fact is that the risk is well worth the money.

What Determines the Validity of Quit Notices in Nigeria: Technical Accuracy or Substantial Justice?

Before the first and second world wars, the relationship between the landlord and tenant was an abusive and exploitative one; the landlord wielded and exercised enormous powers over his tenant. He was entitled to evict his tenant at any time, for no reason whatsoever through the use of force or other means of self-help. He was under no obligation then to furnish the tenant with notice of his intention to terminate the tenancy or to recover possession of his premises. Also, the landlord could unilaterally increase the rent paid by the tenant and the tenant was bound to either pay the increased rent or move out of the house. The tenant was not in a position to question increment in rent however arbitrary or unjustified such increment was. This oppression, exploitation and abuse of tenants by landlords necessitated the enactment of landlord and tenant laws to protect tenants from the high- handedness of landlords.

Currently, tenants enjoy a number of protections by virtue of these laws. In Nigeria, the legislature both at the federal and state levels has enacted several laws to regulate landlord-tenant relations. Examples of these statutes in Nigeria include the Tenancy Law, 2011 of Lagos State, the Recovery of Premises Act, Abuja and the various Rent Control and Recovery of Premises Laws of the various states in Nigeria. It is because of the enactment and enforcement of these laws that it is now illegal and in fact a criminal offence to forcefully evict or attempt to forcefully evict a tenant from lawful occupation of any premises. A landlord who desires to recover possession of his premises from his tenant must apply to court for an order to recover his premises from the tenant. (see sections 16 and 44 (1) of the Tenancy Law of Lagos State,2011). It is also by virtue of these laws that a tenant can now question any increment in rent which he considers to be prohibitively high, unjustified or arbitrary. (see section 37 of the tenancy law of Lagos state).

More importantly, it is by virtue of the provisions of these laws that a landlord is mandated and compulsorily required to serve a tenant he desires to evict from his house with notices of his intention to terminate the tenancy as well as of his intention to apply to court to recover possession of his premises. For example, section 13 of the Tenancy Law of Lagos State, 2011 provides that where there is no stipulation as to the notice to be given by either party to determine a periodic tenancy, the following shall apply –

(a) a week’s notice for a tenant at will;
(b) one (1) month’s notice for a monthly tenant;
(c) three (3) months notice for a quarterly tenant
(d) three (3) months notice for a half-yearly tenant; and
(e) six months notice for a yearly tenant.

In addition to the above named notices, the landlord is also mandated to serve the tenant with a seven (7) day notice of his intention apply to court to recover possession of his premises. Also, a tenant under a tenancy for a fixed term is entitled to a seven (7) notice owner’s intention to apply to court to recover possession (see section 13 (5) of the tenancy law of Lagos state, 2011). Again, under section 14 of tenancy law of Lagos state, 2011, a licensee who is in occupation of premises is entitled to a seven (7) day notice of owner’s intention to recover possession of his premises from such licensee. It must be stressed that the purpose of requiring the service of these statutory notices on tenants by landlords is to secure the tenure of tenants as well as to prevent illegal or forceful evictions.

It is this desire to secure the tenant’s tenure and protect him from unlawful and forceful evictions that gave birth to the rule or policy of Nigerian courts that since statutory notices were designed for the protection of the tenant, any defect, deficiency, irregularity, mistake, omission or deviation however slight or trivial made or committed in relation to the issue, service, content or form of any statutory notice renders such notices invalid and of no effect. Not only that, any action, act or suit taken on the basis of such an invalid notice is a nullity and is of no effect whatsoever. It is therefore for this reason that recovery of premises under Nigerian law is very technical and demands strict compliance with the provisions of the law or else, the whole proceedings will be a nullity.

From decided cases, mistakes, omissions, defects,deficiencies, irregularities or deviations made or committed in respect of quit notices or 7 days notices which invalidates, nullifies and vitiates them include but are not limited to the following instances:

1. Where the landlord’s agent or solicitor issues the statutory notices, failure of the landlord to give the agent or solicitor written authorization to issue the notices renders such notices invalid and ineffective. Also, any act, action or suit taken on the basis of such notices is a nullity. See section 7 of the Recovery of Premises Act, Abuja, section 13 of Rent Control and Recovery of Premises Edict, Lagos, 1997. See also Wemabod Estate Ltd v. L.O. Kotun (1977) 10/CCHCJ/2319, Shittu v. LEDB (1966) L.L.R. 102, Ayiwoh v. Akorede (1951) 20 N.L.R 4, Coker v. Adetayo (1992) 6 N.W.L.R pt 249 at p. 612

2. Where the length of notice given is less than or shorter than the statutorily prescribed length of notice or shorter/less than the period agreed by the parties. See the Supreme Court decision in the case of Oyekoya v. GBO Nig. Ltd (1969) 6 N.S.C.C 69,Awoniyi & sons v. igbalaiye Brothers (1965) ALL NLR 169,Dominic Nnadozie v. Anthony Oluoma (1963) ENLR 77, MN Ugochukwu and sons v.Buraimah (1963) ALL NLR 561

3. In Abuja and some states other than Lagos, where the quit notice does not expire at the eve of the anniversary of the tenancy it is invalid and a nullity. See the cases of Papersack (Nig) Ltd v. Odutola (2004) 13 N.W.L.R pt 891, pg 509., Owoade v. Texaco Africa Ltd. (1973) 4 NSCC 61. See also UIC v. Harmond Nig. Ltd. (1998) 9 NWLR pt. 565 at p.340

4. The date of the expiry of the notice to quit must be correctly stated on the notice to quit or else the notice will be invalid. The insertion of a wrong date invalidates the notice. See Adejumo v. David Hughes & Co Ltd (1989) 5 NWLR pt.120, p.146 5.

5. Misdescription of the premises or failure to describe the premises sought to be recovered. See the cases of Oshodi v. Okafo (1975) CCHCJ 1093, Kuye v. Nwogbo (1978) 7CCHCJ 1073

6. Failure to use the prescribed form or failure/omission to include specific particulars or items of information in the notice as required by law. In Fasade v. Nwabunike (1974) 12 CCHCJ 1865 the notice omitted the words “which you hold of him as tenant thereof”, the notice was held to be invalid.

7. Failure to properly describe the tenant. A notice must properly describe the tenant and any error in this respect renders the notice invalid; see Nigerian Joint Agency Ltd. V. Match Co Ltd. (1972) NMLR

8. Inaccurate or improper description of the nature of the tenancy. Where a yearly tenancy is improperly described as a monthly tenancy or where the notice does not state the nature of the tenancy at all, the notice would be invalid. See the cases of Olaoye v. Mandilas (1949) 19 NLR 59 Giwa v fagbeyisa (1975)10 CCHCJ 16

The unfortunate thing about this judicial rule or policy that mistakes, defects, omissions or deviations committed or made in relation to the issue, service, content and form of statutory notices renders such notices invalid and a nullity is that it tends to delay and frustrate the right of the landlord to recovery of possession of his premises. The vulnerability or susceptibility of statutory notices, especially the quit notice to invalidity or nullity on account of slight or trivial mistakes or omissions presents an opportunity for unscrupulous tenants who refuse to give up possession after the expiry of their term, to frustrate and delay the smooth and speedy adjudication of the matter in court.

By employing these delay tactics, tenants elongate their tenure at the expense of their landlords. Landlords have suffered and continue to suffer and endure grave loss, injustice and hardship on account of this rigid, inflexible and unjust attitude of Nigerian courts. Many suits by landlord to recover possession from tenants have been struck out on account of trivial or slight mistakes, errors or omissions made in the issuance, service, content or form of statutory notices. It is not uncommon to see a judge throw out a landlord’s case and ask him to go and serve the tenant afresh with valid statutory notices. It is also common practice among tenants and their lawyers to unnecessarily prolong a case and thereby elongated their tenure/possession of the premises by proceeding on appeal on the ground that the statutory notices served on the tenant are invalid. In many cases, Nigerian courts uphold their appeals and rule that the judgment given in favour of the landlord by the lower court is wrong and therefore a nullity.

It is trite law that the main purpose of a notice is to bring to the attention of the person on whom the notice is effect/served certain facts, information or state of affairs. This fact is usually ignored by Nigerian courts. In all instances where notices were held to be invalid on account of trivial mistakes, it was irrelevant that the tenant might have understood the purport and effect of the notice served on him and was not in any way misled by any mistake or defect in the notice. In other words, the fact that the tenant did not suffer any loss, damage or injustice as a result of mistakes or defects in the notice is not usually considered by courts in Nigeria. This unduly rigid and inflexible attitude of Nigerian courts is counterproductive, unfair and prejudicial to the rights of landlords to recovery of possession of their premises.

This judicial policy of strict/slavish compliance with procedural formalities occasions grave injustices to landlords, defeats substantial justice and gives unscrupulous tenants the license to defraud, frustrate and exploit their landlords. It becomes imperative in the light of the above to discuss and examine what should be the overriding consideration in determining the validity of statutory notices in Nigeria, especially the quit notice.

It is our argument that a fair test or standard for ascertaining the validity of quit notice should not be based on a slavish adherence to procedural formalities. This is because this approach does not make exceptions for instances where a tenant is served with a quit notice that contains some defects or mistakes but is in fact not misled, injured or in any way prejudiced as a result of such defect or mistake. Our submission is that where the court finds that a tenant perfectly understood the purpose and effect of a notice and he is not misled or otherwise prejudiced by the defects or errors contained therein, the court should uphold the validity of the notice notwithstanding the defects. Therefore, as long as a tenant does not suffer any damage, loss, injustice, injury or prejudice on account of a defect or mistakes in the quit notice, the courts should hold such notices valid and effect. Quit notices with some defect or irregularity should only be held to be invalid where a tenant has been misled or has suffered loss, injury, damage or injustice on account of such defects or irregularities.

The proposition that courts should discountenance adherence to technicalities and do substantial justice is not alien to Nigerian law. Indeed, it is a long standing policy of courts in Nigeria that courts should not emphasize strict compliance with procedural formalities at the expense of doing substantial justice. In a long line of cases, Nigerian courts have denounced the penchant of litigants and their lawyers to use technical rules of court/law against the proper settlement of disputes in court. See the cases of Ayankoya v. Olukoya (1996) 2 S.C.N.J 292 at p.305 per Adio, J.S.C,Afolabi v. Adekunle (1983) A.N.L.R p.470 at 481, State v.Gwonto (1983) 1 S.C.N.L.R 142 page 160 per Eso J.S.C, AG Federation v. AG Abia state (2001) 11 N.W.L.R pt 725 p.689. The gist of all these decisions is that technicalities should not be used to defeat the ends of justice, that cases should not be decided on the basis of technicalities rather they be decided on their merit. According to Oputa, J.S.C in the case of Aliu Bello &13 Others v. AG of Oyo state (1986) 5 N.W.L.R pt 45 528 at p.528 at p.886 E-G,

“The picture of the law and its technical rules triumphant and justice prostrate may, no doubt, have its admirers. But the spirit of justice does not reside in forms and formalities, nor is the triumph of the administration of justice to be found in successfully picking one’s way between pitfalls of technicality”.

Also, in the case of Nipol Ltd v. Bioku Investment & Property Co Ltd (1992) 3 N.W.L.R pt232 p. 727 Olatawura, J.S.C said that

“Technicality in the administration of justice shuts out justice. A litigant sent out of court without a hearing is denied justice. A man denied justice on any grounds grudges the administration of justice. It is therefore better to have a case heard and determined on the merits than to leave the court with a shield of victory on mere technicality”.

In spite of these noble and lofty judicial pronouncements, the courts have consistently failed to disregard technicalities and strict compliance with procedural formalities and to do substantial justice in cases concerning the validity of quit notices.

Unlike their counterparties in Nigeria, however, judges in England favour a flexible approach in coming to a decision whether a quit notice is valid or not. This approach entails making an enquiry or finding as to whether the notice containing the defect in fact misled, confused or embarrassed the recipient. In other words, did the defect in question make any difference to the understanding or conduct of the recipient? In England, where the giver of a defective notice cannot cure the defect, he typically seeks to defend the notice in one of four ways:

1. He argues that the intended effect of the notice would have been perfectly clear to any reasonable recipient (this is known as the Mannai defense).

2. He argues that the defect is corrected elsewhere in the notice or by another document, often a covering letter (this is also known as “the covering letter defense”).

3. He argues that the notice is “substantially to the like effect” as the prescribed form (also known as “the like effect defense”).

4. He argues that the defect in question is a mere inaccuracy in the required particulars which does not invalidate the notice (“also known as the mere inaccuracy defense”).
These defenses will be considered briefly below.

THE REASONABLE RECIPIENT DEFENSE

In the cases of Mannai v. Eagle Star (1997) 1 EGLR 57 decided by the House of Lords, Garston v. Scottish Widows (1998) 2 EGLR 73, and York v. Cassey (1998) 2 EGLR 25, decided respectively by the English Court of Appeal, the notices served expired too early yet the courts held that these notices are valid because a reasonable recipient with knowledge of the terms of the lease would have been in no doubt that the giver of the notice wished to determine the tenancy on the correct date. The court took the view that all unilaterally issued notices are valid if they are clear enough to leave a reasonable recipient in no reasonable doubt as to how and when they are intended to operate. However, where the defective notice gives rise to confusion and perplexity, the notice will held to be invalid. This was the position of the English courts in the cases of Panayi v. Roberts (1993) 2EGLR 51, Clickex v. McCann (1999) 2HLR 6324 and Barclays v. Bee (2001) 37 EG 153.

However, it is pertinent to point out that the reasonable recipient defense (also known as the Mannai defense) has been held to be inapplicable to notices in respect of which a statutory provision requires to contain specific information. Failure or omission to include those specified particulars or items of information in the Notice renders same invalid. The Mannai defence, it should be noted, applies only where it is not an indispensable condition for the effective exercise of a right that the notice must contain specific information. See the cases of John Lyon Grammar School v. Secchi (1999) 32 HLR 820, Dalziel v. Speedwell Estates Ltd (2002) 02 EG 104, Burman v. Mount Cook (2001) EWCA Civ.1712 and St. Ermin’s Property Company Ltd v. Patel (2001) L &TR 537.

THE COVERING LETTER DEFENCE:

As has already been pointed out, a giver of a defective notice in England can raise the defense that the defect or omissions in the notice has been cured by reference to a statement elsewhere in the notice or in a covering letter. Thus, the omission of a signature in a notice has been held to be cured by a signature on an accompanying letter. Also, insertion of an incorrect date of termination has been held to be cured by the terms of a covering letter. See the cases of Stidolp v. American School (1969) 20 P & CR 802. Germax Securities Ltd v. Speigal (1999)1 EGLR 84, and York v. Casey (1998) 2 EGLR 25.

THE LIKE EFFECT DEFENCE:

Most laws which prescribe forms of notices usually provide that any deviations from the prescribed form will not invalidate the notice as long as the notice is substantially to the like effect. English courts have held that a notice that deviates from the prescribed form is not bad or invalid if the words used mean substantially the same thing as the words which should have been used. This is especially so where the notice has not misled or otherwise prejudiced the tenant. See the cases of Andrew v. Brewer (1997) EGCS 19. Tadema Holdings Ltd v. Fergusion (1999) EGCS 138, Ravenseft Properties Ltd v. Hall (2001) 13 EGCS 125.

It should be noted that this defence is also available in Nigeria. See section 31 (1) of the Recovery of Premises Act, Abuja. Section 23 of the Interpretation Act provides that a form different from a prescribed form shall not be invalid by reason only of the difference, if the difference is not in a material particular and is not calculated to mislead. In the cases of Adejumo v. David Hughes & Co Ltd, supra, and Bucknor-Maclean & Anor. V. Inlaks Ltd (1980) ANLR 184, the Supreme Court held that notices or forms that deviated slightly but not substantially from the prescribed form were good and valid in law. However, in Fasade v. Nwabunike (1974) 12 CCHCJ 1865 the notice was held to be invalid because the notice omitted the words “which you hold of him as tenant thereof”, as prescribed in the statutory form.

THE MERE INACCURACY DEFENCE:

In England, the courts hold that where a statute requires a notice to contain certain specified particulars, the notice is not to be invalidated by any inaccuracy in the particulars required or any misdescription of the property to which the claim extends. However, in the case of statutory notices, it is a question of what the statute requires. Errors in parts of the form which are irrelevant to the circumstances do not matter but the notice to be valid, must set out fully and accurately those particulars which are necessary for it to perform its statutory functions. See “Notices: when is a defect not a defect?” by Jonathan Gaunt and Nichola Cheffings for more detailed discussion of English law on defective notices.

In conclusion, the rule of Nigerian law that any mistake in a notice, however trivial renders it invalid produces unjust results. Where a mistake or omission in a notice does not mislead or confuse the tenant, the notice should not be invalidated. Nigerian courts should always inquire as to whether the tenant understood the purpose and effect of the notice and whether the tenant was or was not in fact misled or confused by any mistake or omission contained therein. This way, unscrupulous tenants will be prevented from frustrating and exploiting their landlords.

The decision of the supreme of Nigeria in the case of Nigerian Joint Agency Ltd. V. Arrow Engineering and General Transport Company (1970) 1 ALL NLR 324 indicates that there is hope that Nigerian courts will stop sacrificing justice on the altar of technicality. In that case, the date of the termination of the tenancy was erroneously stated to be 1st June 1967 instead 31st May, 1967 in the seven day notice. The supreme nonetheless held the notice to be valid. The Supreme Court was satisfied that while the plaintiffs should have put the date of the determination of the tenancy as 31st May 1967, the defendants had not in any way been prejudiced by the act of the plaintiffs in putting the date one day later I.e 1st June 1967.