Subuola Alake & Ors V. Bisi Pratt & Ors (1955)
Distribution on intestacy—legitimacy—determinable by law ofthe country of a person’s origin—public policy.
It had to be determined in this case whether children born out of wedlock to their father are entitled to share in his estate together with the children who are the issue of a marriage contracted under the Marriage Ordinance.
The trial Judge found that by the Native Law and Custom ofthe Yoruba people, the paternity of the two appellants having been acknowledged by the deceased during his life-time, they are to be regarded as legitimate under the law in Nigeria, but further held that it was incompatible with public policy for children bom out of wedlock to be placed on the same footing as those born in lawful wedlock, and accordingly held that the appellants should be excluded from participation in the estate.
The evidence in this case is that under Yoruba Law and Custom all legitimate children are entitled to share in their father’s estate, and as the appellants have been held to be legitimate they are entitled to so share, and the question of their parent’s marriage is not relevant, and this would not be contrary to public policy.