Johnson Akpiri V. The West African Airways Corporation (1952)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West Africa Court of Appeal
Landlord and Tenant—Person operating a canteen—” Tenant ” under section 2 (1) of Recovery of Premises Ordinance (Cap. 193).
The Corporation agreed with the appellant that he should operate a canteen for their staff, and he was allowed to use free of rent the Corporation’s premises.
Later the Corporation wrote to him to vacate them and hand the keys to their representative; but he did not. They re-took possession; and he sued for unlawful ejectment.
The Corporation pleaded he was a mere licensee; and the trial Judge held that the plaintiff had not shown any demise of an interest in land, and gave judgment for the Corporation. The plaintiff appealed, and the question turned on whether he was a “tenant” within the said section 2 (1) as, if he was, the Corporation should have taken the steps provided in the Ordinance.
That sub-section defines a tenant to include “any person occupying premises whether on payment of rent or otherwise but does not include a person occupying premises under a bona fide claim to be the owner of the premises”.
The word “occupying” must be given its ordinary dictionary meaning; the appellant was occupying the premises as was clear from the respondent’s letter to him to vacate them and hand the keys; he was a tenant within the meaning of the Ordinance.