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Kojo Gyapon & Ors V. Osei Kwabena II & Ors (1944) LJR-WACA

Kojo Gyapon & Ors V. Osei Kwabena II & Ors (1944)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Restrictions on exercise of Supreme Court’s jurisdiction—Suit relating to ownership of land as between Chiefs—Courts Ordinance, s. 14, s. 17, s. 62 (1) (a)—Boundary (Land, etc.) Disputes Ordinance, s. 3 (1), s. 3 (3).

Facts

Plaintiffs prayed the Supreme Court at Kumasi to fix the correct boundary between them and Defendant under an executive decision of 1910. The Judge decided (subject to the opinion of the W.A.C.A.) that the Court had no jurisdiction in a suit relating to the ownership, etc., of lands between Chiefs of different divisions in Ashanti, in view of the Courts Ordinance, ss. 17 and 62 (1) (a). The Chief Commissioner’s decision had been given under the Boundary (Land, etc.) Disputes Ordinance, s. 3 (1) ; and the present dispute related to the source of the River Akroponsu and involved a large tract ; but it was argued for Plaintiffs that s. 3 (3) of the Boundary (Land, etc.) Disputes Ordinance overrode the provisions restricting the Supreme Court’s exercise of jurisdiction.

Held

that (1) s. 14 of the Courts Ordinance confers full jurisdiction on the Supreme Court but that s. 17 imposes a restriction on the exercise thereof ;
a pronouncement in the suit would have had the effect of adjudicating upon the ownership of the land contained within certain lines—an adjudication which could only be regarded as deciding the ownership of land as between Chiefs in Ashanti contrary to the restriction imposed by s. 17 ;
the language of s. 3 (3) of the Boundary (Land, etc.) Disputes Ordinance was too vague and indirect to restore the exercise of the jurisdiction restricted as aforesaid, and seemed to presuppose a case in a Court in which a question arose as to the exact boundary, e.g. where all the parties were not natives.

See also  S. G. Acquah & Ors V. P. T. Acquah & Anor (1941) LJR-WACA

For these reasons we are of opinion that the Supreme Court is precluded by law from exercising jurisdiction in this suit.

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