B. A. Owiredu & Ors V. Mamah Moshie & Ors (1952)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Native Law and Custom—Fanti Customary Law—Alienation of Family Land.
This was a dispute about land belonging to the Effia Stool. The appellants as plaintiffs claimed on a lease given them by one Chief; the defendant in occupation claimed on a lease given him and his people by the predecessor of that Chief and had the support of the co-defendant, who said in regard to the plaintiffs that the consent of the Family’s representatives had not been obtained and the lease to them was unauthorised, and in regard to the defendant, that his people were recognised by the Family as the tenants.
The plaintiffs admitted that the said consent had not been obtained but contended that it was not necessary on the ground that the Family had delegated all authority to alienate land and divested itself of its interest by virtue of the election and installation as chief of the person who gave the plaintiffs their lease.
The evidence on the record proved, however, that the consent zof the head and principal members of the Family was needed in Fanti Customary Law and also the approval of the Paramount Chief, the overlord of the Effia Stool. The trial Judge dismissed the claim and the plaintiffs appealed.
The lease given to the appellants was given them without the consent of the head and principal members of the Family and without the approval of the overlord of the Effia Stool, as required in Customary Law; that lease was therefore not binding on the Stool Family.