Nigeria v Santolina Investment Corp and others: ChD 7 Mar 2007

The federal government sought to recover properties from the defendants which it said were the proceeds of corrupt behaviour by the principal defendant who had been State Governor of a province. The claimant sought summary judgment.
Held: Summary judgment was refused. The witness statements were admitted to contain contradictory and unreliable evidence, and the allegations of fraud were denied. ‘An allegation of personal corruption in public office is probably the most serious allegation that can be made against an elected officer of government. Only in exceptional circumstances would it be right to enter judgment against him without giving him the opportunity to confront his accusers and to have his side of the story heard.’
Lewison J summarised the principles applicable when a court considered an application for summary judgment:
‘1. The court must consider whether the defendant has a ‘realistic’ as opposed to a ‘fanciful’ prospect of success.
2. A ‘realistic’ defence is one that carries some degree of conviction. This means a defence that is more than merely arguable.
3. In reaching its conclusion the court must not conduct a ‘mini-trial
4. This does not mean that the court must take at face value and without analysis everything that a defendant says. In some cases it may be clear that there is no real substance in factual assertions made, particularly if contradicted by contemporaneous documents.
5. However, in reaching its conclusion the court must take into account not only the evidence actually placed before it on the application for summary judgment, but also the evidence that can reasonably be expected to be available at trial.
6. Although a case may turn out at trial not to be really complicated, it does not follow that it should be decided without a fuller investigation into the facts at trial than is possible or permissible on an application for summary judgment. Thus the court should hesitate about making a final decision without a trial, even where there is no obvious conflict of fact, where reasonable grounds exist for believing that a fuller investigation into the facts of the case would add to or alter the evidence available to a trial judge and so affect the outcome of the case.’

Lewison J
[2007] EWHC 437 (Ch)
Civil Procedure Rules 3.4
England and Wales
CitedSwain v Hillman CA 21-Oct-1999
Strike out – Realistic Not Fanciful Chance Needed
The proper test for whether an action should be struck out under the new Rules was whether it had a realistic as opposed to a fanciful prospect of success. There was no justification for further attempts to explain the meaning of what are clear . .
CitedThe Royal Brompton Hospital National Health Service Trust v Hammond and Others (No 5) CA 11-Apr-2001
When looking at an application to strike out a claim, the normal ‘balance of probabilities’ standard of proof did not apply. It was the court’s task to assess whether, even if supplemented by evidence at trial, the claimant’s claim was bound to fail . .
CitedE D and F Man Liquid Products Ltd v Patel and Another CA 4-Apr-2003
The rules contained two occasions on which a court would consider dismissal of a claim as having ‘no real prospect’ of success.
Held: The only significant difference between CPR 24.2 and 13.3(1), is that under the first the overall burden of . .
CitedWrexham Association Football Club Ltd v Crucialmove Ltd CA 14-Mar-2006
There is no longer an absolute bar against obtaining summary judgment when fraud is alleged, but the fact that a claim is based on fraud is a relevant factor. The risk of a finding of dishonesty may itself be a strong reason for allowing a case to . .
CitedDoncaster Pharmaceuticals Group Ltd and Others v The Bolton Pharmaceutical Company 100 Ltd CA 26-May-2006
Appeals were made against interlocutory injunctions for alleged trade mark infringement.
Held: The court should hesitate about making a final decision for summary judgment without a trial, even where there is no obvious conflict of fact at the . .
See AlsoFederal Republic of Nigeria v Santolina Investment Corporation and others QBD 3-Dec-2007
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Cited by:
See AlsoFederal Republic of Nigeria v Santolina Investment Corporation and others QBD 3-Dec-2007
. .
ApprovedKhatri v Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank Ba CA 23-Apr-2010
The claimant appealed against refusal of summary judgment on his claim for payment of a discretionary employment bonus by the defendant.
Held: The appeal succeeded and summary judgment was given. The contract properly construed did give rise . .
CitedSel-Imperial Ltd v The British Standards Institution ChD 23-Apr-2010
The defendant had developed a draft standard for automotive body repairs. It included a requirement that any replacement parts must be either the manufacturer’s own or certified under a recognised conformity certification scheme. The claimant . .
CitedParties Named In Schedule A v Dresdner Kleinwort Ltd and Another QBD 28-May-2010
The defendant merchant banks resisted two group claims for annual bonuses for 2008 made by the employee claimants. They now sought summary judgment against the claims. The employer had declared a guaranteed minimum bonus pool available to make the . .
CitedHumber Oil Terminals Trustee Ltd v Associated British Ports ChD 24-Feb-2011
The claimant sought to renew its leases of docking facilities from the landlord defendant. The defendant resisted saying it intended to operate its own business, and the claimant now alleged that the defendant was abusing its dominant position to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

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Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.249891