How to Move a Motion in Court – All the details

Knowing how to move a Motion in court is fundamental for any lawyer in Nigeria. Moving a Motion in a Nigeria court can seem quite easy.

However, for the new wigs and sometimes the old-timers in the legal profession, this is no small task. I have had some terrible experiences with this, hence my eagerness to make sure no new law kiddo or experienced lawyer faces such an embarrassing moment in court.

How to Move a Motion in Court - The right way

Every Lawyer in Nigeria must know how to move a Motion in court. There is no way to avoid it in court.

Things to Consider before knowing how to move a motion in Court

  • Self-esteem: work on your self-esteem. You are a lawyer like any other lawyer in court. You have the same right to represent any client in court as any Senior Advocate of Nigeria or Queen’s Counsel (Equivalent of Senior Advocate in England).
  • Boldness: A lawyer must be bold or be able to fake his boldness. Honestly, boldness in court comes gradually as you progress in the profession. Work on your boldness.
  • Be prepared: Even though a case is slated for motion or application, the Judge might want to ask you one or two things about the issue. Secondly, depending on the type of application a lawyer is asking for, some applications can be granted or refused immediately and the substantial case proceeded almost immediately.
  • Forget bad experiences: learn to forgive yourself. Every lawyer just like you has had a fair share of their own bad experiences in court. Don’t dwell on previous negative experiences before going to court. Believe you can do it. Tell yourself you are better and stronger when you feel saddened by such thoughts.
  • Master your case file: Unfortunately, most of the embarrassing moment lawyers face in court is caused because they are not fully abreast of the matter or case they intend to move such applications. Sometimes mere carelessness on the part of counsels can attract such embarrassing moments and sometimes this is a result of senior lawyers just throwing the case files on Junior lawyers on the very day of the application.

I will be writing a later post on mastering your case file in 15 minutes but for now, let’s focus on how to move a motion in court.

 SEE: Our video on how to move a motion in Court


How to move a motion in Court Proper:

We assume that this is an application brought by way of a motion on notice. As the Claimant/Applicant’s counsel, you are appearing in court on the day slated for the hearing of the motion.  Take note that once your case is called, You have to rise and address the court.


“May it please your Lordship, I am Okusare Joseph O., appearing for the Claimant/Applicant”.

(N.B: The Claimant/Applicant’s Counsel sits after announcing his appearance and the Defendant/Respondent’s counsel rises to announce his own appearance).

“My Lord, this case is slated for the hearing of all pending Applications and the Claimant/Applicant is ready to proceed with his case.”

“My Lord, before this honourable court is an application brought by way of Motion on notice, dated and filed on the 10th February 2019. The application is brought pursuant to Order.___ rule.___ (State the law for such prayers) of the Lagos State High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

“With the kind permission of your Lordship and subject to my Lord’s overriding convenience, we would proceed to move the application (The court nods or approves…)”.

“The said application prays the honourable court for an Interlocutory Injunction restraining the defendant, his privies, agents and servants from converting the 15 Vehicles pending the determination of the substantive suit and for such further order or orders that this honourable court may deem fit to make in this circumstance.

In compliance with the practice direction of this honourable court, the application is supported by a 16-paragraph Affidavit dated 10th February 2019 deposed to by one Mr Bright John. My Lord, we are placing heavy reliance on all the paragraphs of the said affidavit, particularly paras 5-11  and 14. The affidavit has 4 annexures to wit: 16 copies of the purchase receipts.

Furthermore, the application is supported by a written address dated 10th February 2019. We adopt the same as our argument to this application and urge the court to grant the said prayers of the Applicant as highlighted in the said motion paper”.

Adumbration if any: “By way of adumbration, the thrust of the application is whether the court can grant such an application. As has been succinctly dealt with in our Application, it is the argument of the Claimant/Applicant, that the court can grant such an application where… (Itemize). The Defendant in his counter affidavit has not raised material traverse and as such, we consider it unnecessary to file a further and better affidavit in opposition and we pray the court not to treat our hesitation as an admission of the fact deposed in the counter-affidavit (You don’t adumbrate in every situation).

I, therefore move the application as per the motion paper and urge the court to grant the application. We humbly submit”.

N.B: When you have a Reply to a Counter-Affidavit filed by the Respondent, You should let him argue their counter-Affidavit first before you take your reply address.

—updated 2023. 


Author Bio:

Joseph Okusare Joci is a lawyer and a blogger. He loves to help lawyers achieve their full potentials. He is passionate about law, emerging technologies, media, marketing and info tech issues.



40 responses to “How to Move a Motion in Court – All the details”

  1. Ajibola Bello Avatar
    Ajibola Bello

    Good job bro. However, with regards to the part of the written address, it is most appropriate to say “we adopt the argument contained in the written address as our oral submission in support of the motion” rather than say we adopt it as our brief of argument. Brief of argument is just as same as the written address but used in court of appeal and it is also in writing.
    Ordinarily, we are supposed to argue orally for our motions…but to save time since we mostly restate what is contained in d address, we are better adopting it as our oral argument or submission.

    1. Ncha Romeo Abang Avatar
      Ncha Romeo Abang

      I am really impressed for this is a clearification of the cloud in my understanding how to move a motion after coming out from the lecture hall at Kano campus NLS …criminal litigation.

    2. ISITOR Nicholas Avatar
      ISITOR Nicholas

      Good day sir, I read your write up on “How to move motion in court properly and it was informative and sound. thank you sir

  2. Akinyemi-Borode,Adedayo Avatar

    This piece is wonderful and encompasses all what a lawyer on pupilage must know.

  3. Akpudo Stanislaus Chukwuemeka Avatar
    Akpudo Stanislaus Chukwuemeka

    I’m enlightened. But what are the procedures for adopting a final written address?

    1. ADMIN Avatar

      Almost same way you adopt a Motion, just that sometimes you might have to adumbrate and use the opportunity to emphasize or clear any ambiguity in your Final Written Address.

  4. Usman Aminu Avatar
    Usman Aminu

    This is one of best write up i read in all my stay in the Nigerian Law School.

    1. YAHAYA ACHADU Avatar

      Thank you for the simplicity of presentation of this topic- how to move motions in court. I appreciate you, please.

  5. sanni ag Avatar
    sanni ag

    What does it mean to move a motion in terms

    1. ADMIN Avatar

      Moving a motion in terms or moving in terms of the motion paper simply means moving the motion without the regular formalities involved in moving a motion. So there will be no need for you to go into much details as the “terms” or content of the paper is already before the court. You just simply ask for the court’s permission to move in terms and if the Judge permits it, you simply say I move in terms of the motion paper my Lord. This is usually allowed or used for harmless motions but it is all subject to the Judge discretion even for harmful motions.

  6. Femi Avatar

    Good. Must say however that since it is a Motion On Notice it is best practice for Counsel moving to inform the Court of the Service of the application on the Respondent otherwise the Court would lack the requisite jurisdiction to entertain same.

  7. Welinam Avatar

    I wish you would make a video of making an oral argument in support of a motion.

    1. ADMIN Avatar

      We will give that a thought. Thanks

    2. Michael Avatar

      This is nice, I really appreciatebthis gesture.

      1. Legal Panic Avatar
        Legal Panic

        thank you

  8. Olayinka Jeleel A. Avatar
    Olayinka Jeleel A.

    God bless you sir

  9. Milly Avatar

    Good one, keep it up.

    1. Barr Engr Iboroabasi Joshua Avatar
      Barr Engr Iboroabasi Joshua

      This is quite apt, succinct and instructive.

  10. Ose Avatar

    Appearing in court for the first time alone. So you know why I’m here. ?

    1. Emma Pius Esq Avatar
      Emma Pius Esq

      You did a good job. More power to your elbow.
      However, you did not teach when a lawyer is to handle counter affidavit in court what is expected of him. Kindly balance the teaching for clarity sake.

  11. Ose Avatar

    Appearing in court for the first time alone. So you know why I’m here ?

    1. Okosun Esele Avatar
      Okosun Esele

      Very helpful.

  12. Maryann Avatar

    Thank you very much for this although I am still a student of Ebonyi State University I am really impressed

  13. Babatunde Tijani Avatar
    Babatunde Tijani

    how do you move a counter affidavit

  14. Abdulrazak Yunusa Avatar
    Abdulrazak Yunusa

    Please how do you move a motion for notice of preliminary objections

  15. Onyema Avatar

    This is great. Thanks a lot

    1. Andulrahman Aliyu Avatar

      What a dominant performance, so interested my mentor.

  16. Ummi Avatar

    Well-done, keep up the good work.

  17. Abu Hamza Olanrewaju Avatar
    Abu Hamza Olanrewaju

    Stay blessed sire!

    1. Legal Panic Avatar
      Legal Panic

      Thank you.

      1. Adegoke Avatar

        Quite informative! Thanks

  18. Tosin Akintoye Avatar
    Tosin Akintoye

    Thank you for this

  19. Michael Avatar

    Counsel, I would like to be cleared on the use of “we” instead of “I” because I notice in your appearance’s announcement that it is only you that is mentioned. Please is a convention or matter of choice? Thanks!

    1. Legal Panic Avatar
      Legal Panic

      The word “we” is used just in case you are more than one lawyer for the Applicant. However, “I” is very correct for a situation where you are just the only lawyer for the Applicant.

  20. Usman Hassan Avatar
    Usman Hassan

    Thank you sir. May God bless you

  21. Meee Avatar

    Counsel your work is very nice, instructive and on point. Thank you legal … ?

  22. Abdulrahman kanuri Avatar
    Abdulrahman kanuri

    I really appreciate it.
    But please in order to make us understand more we would like to see the video perhaps
    09034218696 my WhatsApp number
    Thanks again.
    From Taraba state
    Student of college for legal studie Yola.

    1. Legal Panic Avatar
      Legal Panic

      There is a video on this done by us. You can video for such videos. Do subscribe and like our videos too. You are welcome.

  23. Abdulrahman kanuri Avatar
    Abdulrahman kanuri

    Thanks for your help.
    But please what is the difference between motion on notice & ex parte.

    1. Legal Panic Avatar
      Legal Panic

      Motion on notice means the motion must be served on the other party. While Motion Exparte means you don’t have to put the other party on notice. It can be moved without putting the other party on notice. Usually these are harmless motions or motions that doesn’t affect the other party.

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