How to Move a Motion / Application in Nigerian Courts –

How to move a Motion

Moving a Motion/Application in Court is one of the easiest things to do. However, not only does New Wigs consider it scary, Old wigs who are not frequent in practice may become perplexed about How to Move a Motion in Court.

However, in this Article, we shall take you through a step by step guide on how to move an Application before Courts in Nigeria.

Before we continue, kindly note that Motion/Application are used interchangeably. They mean one and the same thing. So, don’t get confused when you hear those words being used interchangeably.

#Case Study:

Lets  assume you filed a Writ of Summon against a person and such a person has been evading service thus making it very hard to serve the Defendant Personally. The Law provides an alternative to this kind of issues. The alternative is that you (Claimant) can bring an Application before the Court vide a Motion Exparte Praying the Court to allows you serve the Defendant vide a  substituted means. Now, we shall be teaching you how to move this kind of Application.

#Note: The same step applies to any type of Application, notwithstanding the nature of the prayers sought.


To move a move, you must first announce your appearance before the Honourable court. (Announcing appearance is simply telling the Court your Name and which Party you are representing. So there is no special way of saying it. Lolz)

When the matter is called up by the Court Registrar, kindly stand up and announce your appearance as follows:  For me I announce my Appearance thus:

Humbly your Lordship, I am Maxwell M. Igweogu, I appear for the Claimant/Applicant.


As a matter of professional courtesy to Court, it is good to seek the leave and convenience of Court before moving an Application and this is how it is done.

Most humbly my Lord, we have an Application before this Honourable Court and subject to the permission and convenience of the Court, we would love to move our Application.

Counsel will wait for the Court to respond. The Court usually responds by nodding or may say go on. (It is also important to note here that if its a Motion on Notice which requires you to serve the other party, you may however add that you have served the other party and you are ready to move your motion.)

The Court normally will ask the other party if he has been served? Where he says Yes, then you can go on with the Application. The court may also ask the party if he is opposed to the Application before allowing you to move your motion.


Sincerely this is the easiest stage. All you have to do is to look at your Motion paper and read. Below are places in the motion to pay attention:

(A) Type of Motion: Is it a motion on Notice or Motion Exparte (B) The date of the motion and the date it was filed at the court registry. (C)The Law it is brought pursuant to (D) The Prayers

In view of the above, this is how you should go:

It is a Motion Exparte dated on the 25th day March 2022 and filed on the 28th day of March 2022.

The Application is brought pursuant to Order 5 Rule 3 of the High Civil Procedure Rules of Ondo State and Under the Inherent Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court.

Your Lordship, the Application prayers this Honourable Court for the Following reliefs:

An Order of this Honourable Court allowing the Claimant/Applicant to serve the Defendant the Writ of Summons and all it’s accompanying document vide a substituted means by pasting same on the Defendant’s residential building at Road 3 Funbi Fagun Road, Ondo City being the the Defendant last known of abode.
And for such further Orders this Honourable Court can make in the circumstance.


Note also that at this point, you should turn to the Affidavit page and below are the details you should pay attention to in the Affidavit.

(A)Number of the Affidavit’s paragraphs  (B)The name and designation of the Deponent (C) Paragraphs you intend to rely on (D) Exhibit’s attached.

At this point, I need to correct the mistake I made during my earlier year of practice while moving a Motion. You do not refer to an Affidavit at being attached to the an Applicant. Instead you say in support of this Application. . Having this in mind, let us get started.

Humbly my Lord, in SUPPORT of this Application is 15 paragraph Affidavit DEPOSED TO by one Mr. Joesph Adetokunbo, the Claimant/Applicant herein.

My Lord we seek to rely on all the paragraphs of the said Affidavit; particularly paragraph 8 – 14.

(If there are exhibits, you add this. If not, kindly skip it.) Also, attached to this Affidavit is an Exhibit being a copy of the bailiffs report disclosing his experiences in effecting personal service on the Defendant. My lord, it is exhibited in paragraph 10 of the the said Affidavit.


Generally, Application before the High Court must be accompanied with a Written Address. But in all inferior courts, it is not compulsory and you wouldn’t be penalized if you include same either. Here we go!

Humbly my Lord, in line with the Rules of this Honourable Court, this Application is ACCOMPANIED WITH a Written Address. My Lord we seek to adopt same as our oral argument in support of our Application. We so move!!! (Don’t forget to thank the Court by saying “We are grateful My lord” etc.)

Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah! That is the end.

NOTE 1: Importantly,  after introducing your application, the Court may say “Counsel, kindly MOVE IN TERM”

This means, the court want’s to Look at your motion paper and write everything he needs. At this point, all you need to do is to say. WE HUMBLY MOVE IN TERMS OF MY MOTION PAPER and end by appreciating the court. For me I do say say “We are most oblige my Lord or We are most grateful my Lord.”


By way of adumbration, the Claimant and the Bailiff of this Court has searched for the Defendant to serve the Defendant and has been unable to. The Defendant is in town and has just been evading service. He comes back late and leaves the house very earlier in the morning just to evade service. In circumstance, we had to invoke the rules of this Court to be able to serve the defendant.


I sincerely hope this article on how to move  a Motion in Nigerian Courts was helping to you. Kindly drop your comments, lets share our experiences.


You can copy the format version of move  a Motion for future reference here!

Click to Download How to Move a Motion in Nigerian Courts_ PDF

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