Ajua Baisiwah Of Besease V. Kofi Otuakwa, Head Of The Oyoko Family Of Obontser & Anor (1951) LJR-WACA
Ajua Baisiwah Of Besease V. Kofi Otuakwa, Head Of The Oyoko Family Of Obontser & Anor (1951)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Jurisdiction of Native Court of State where there is former judgment by NativeCourt of same State—Effect of judgment in rem on subject matter of suit—Persons bound by first judgment—Effect of Court’s exercising jurisdictionby virtue of different Ordinances.
The appellant was the defendant. The plaintiff instituted action in Native Court ” B ” of Ajumako for recovery of possession of land and obtained judgment. The defendant pleaded that the said Court had no jurisdiction, relying on an earlier judgment in respect of the same land of the Native Tribunal of Ajumako, which held that the land was not in Ajumako State but in another independent State, named Asiam State. On appeal to the Land Court the Land Judge held that, although the judgment of the Native Tribunal was a judgment in rem it was only binding in respect of property situate within the jurisdiction of the Court and confirmed the judgment of the Native Court ” B ” of Ajumako on the merits.
The respondent argued before this Court that as the former Native Tribunal of Ajumako had exercised jurisdiction by virtue of the Native Administration Ordinance, 1927, while the Native Court ” B ” of Ajumako exercised jurisdiction by virtue of the Native Courts Ordinance, 1944, the latter Court is not bound by a judgment in rem of its predecessor in title.
The true interpretation” of a judgment in rem is that it settles the status of the subject matter of the suit, and is binding on all persons within the jurisdiction of the Court which makes the pronouncement and on the Court or its successors in title, although such a judgment is not necessarily binding on other independent Courts outside the jurisdiction of the Court which made the pronouncement.
Held further, that both Ordinances empowered the said Native Courts to exercise jurisdiction within the prescribed area of the Native State of Ajumako, and in the absence of proof that the Ajumako State has acquired new territories, the new Court could not assume jurisdiction.