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Chief Fosbery Lulu Braide V. Chief Obu Harry Horsfall & Anor (1955) LJR-WACA

Chief Fosbery Lulu Braide V. Chief Obu Harry Horsfall & Anor (1955)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West Africa Court of Appeal

Native Courts Ordinance—jurisdiction in land cases—set out in warrant.

Facts

The plaintiffs/respondents started these proceedings by filing a civil summons in a Grade C Native Court claiming possession of land and £300 mesne profits. Under the provisions of the Native Courts Ordinance the case was transferred to and tried by the Supreme Court, and the plaintiff obtained an order for possession and judgment for £200 mesne profits.

No question ofjurisdiction was raised in the Court below, but on appeal Counsel for the appellants submitted that the Native Court had no jurisdiction in the matter as under section 8 and the Schedule of the Native Courts Ordinance (Cap. 142) the jurisdiction of a Grade C Court is limited in civil actions to claims in which the debt, demand or damages do not exceed £50, and that as here the claim for mesne profits was £300, the Native Court in question had no jurisdiction to issue the civil summons and therefore the whole proceedings were a nullity.

The Court allowed this point to be argued. Section 8 sets out the jurisdiction of Native Courts and states, infer alia, that the Governor may by order grade Native Courts and prescribe their jurisdiction and powers which are set forth in the warrant of each Court.

The jurisdiction and power shall not, without the permission of the Governor, exceed those prescribed in the Schedule. In the Schedule, Grade C Native Courts in the Southern Provinces, shall have such jurisdiction in causes concerning land or in which a title to land or any interest thereon comes in question as may be stated in
its warrant.

See also  Nana Kwaku Amoah II & Ors V. Nana Sir Ofori Atta & Ors (1933) LJR-WACA

The warrant of this Grade C Court was not produced in the Court below, but
the Court held that this was a matter it would take judicial notice of and had the warrant produced.

This warrant conferred on the Native Court unlimited jurisdiction in causes concerning land or in which a title to land or any interest thereon comes into question, providing that the land lies wholly within the jurisdiction of that Court.

Held

The Native Court had jurisdiction to issue the civil summons in this case and the appeal was dismissed.


Appeal dismissed.

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