Kabba & Anor V. Daniel S. Young (1944)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Claim to possession of premises—Equitable defence—Purchase of legal estate with notice of equitable right—Summary hearing—County Court Rules, 0 .I X , R.7 ; R.15 ; Supreme Court Ordinance, 1932, s.8 ; s.57.
Plaintiff claimed possession and mesne profits in respect of certain premises whereof Frank Fraser (Defendant 2) claimed to be in possession by his tenant Kabba (Defendant 1) and another. The law of Sierra Leone requires such a case to be tried summarily in the Supreme Court without pleadings. In opening Plaintiff’s Counsel stated that the premises were purchased in 1938 ; it was not until his final address that Counsel for the Defendants made it clear that they resisted the claim for possession. The Judge found-
A—that Plaintiff bought from vendor on 28-7-38 but Defendant 2 had paid vendor £24 out of £33 agreed upon for the premises ;
B—that before Plaintiff’s purchase vendor had told Defendant 1 to pay the rent to Defendant 2 ;
C—that Plaintiff was aware of facts affecting his title and was a purchaser for value with notice.
The Judge thought Plaintiff was entitled to possession and Defendant 2 to compensation for his lien.
Plaintiff was admittedly owner of the legal estate. The defence relied on equity on those findings as a prior purchaser put in possession, of which Plaintiff had notice. Plaintiff relied mainly on the fact that that defence had not been raised in time as required by the County Court Rules (which governed the procedure).
that failure to comply with Rule 7 of Order IX of the County Court Rules did not bar the equitable relief sought in view of section 8 of the Supreme Court Ordinance, 1932.
Held also, that as part of the price had been paid and the balance tendered within the time stipulated, the Defendants would have had a perfect defence against the vendor.
Held further, that notice of the land, being in the occupation of a person other than the vendor, is notice to a purchaser that the person in possession has some interest in the land, and a purchaser having notice of that fact is bound either to inquire what that interest is or to give effect to it whatever it may be, being bound on this principle by all the equities which the tenant could enforce against the vendor ; and that in the circumstances of the case Plaintiff’s claim for possession must fail and consequently no question of lien arises.