Knowing how to move a Motion in court is fundamental for any lawyer in Nigeria. Moving a Motion in 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 personally had some terrible experience 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 like 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 case. Secondly, depends on the type of application a lawyer is asking for, some application can be granted or refused immediately and the substantial case proceeded to almost immediately.
  • Forget bad experience: learn to forgive yourself. Every lawyer just like you have had a fair share of their own bad experiences in court. Don’t dwell on previous negative experience before going to court. Believe you can do it. Tell yourself you are better and stronger when you feel sadden by such thought.
  • 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 moment and sometimes this is as 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 rise to announce his own appearance).

“My Lord, this case is slated for the hearing of all pending Application and 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 annexure to wit: 16 copies of the purchase receipts.

Furthermore, the application is supported by a written address dated 10th February, 2019. We adopt 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 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 have 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).

We hereby move the application as par 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 2019. 


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.


  1. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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.

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


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