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  • appeal
  • 1960-06-13
  • GLR 169-170
  • Print



Certiorari?-No jurisdiction in Court of Appeal to entertain appeals in applications for prerogative writs?-Previous decisions of the court in such appeals were per incuriam.


A notice of the destoolment of Peprah II, Odikro of Wirenkyirem was published in the Ghana Gazette of 18th October, 1958 in accordance with section 3 of the Statute Law (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 1957. The Odikro, who claimed that those who purported to destool him had no jurisdiction to do so and that he had not been given an opportunity to defend himself in the competent forum, moved the High Court for an order of certiorari to quash the Gazette notice. Smith, J. held that neither of the respondents (the Government Agent of Kibi and the Minister of Local Government) had any judicial duty to determine any question as to the destoolment and that the publication of the notice in the Gazette was a purely executive act. Certiorari therefore did not lie. The applicant appealed to the Court of Appeal. The respondents took a preliminary objection to the court?'s jurisdiction to entertain the appeal.



Van Lare, J.A. delivered the judgment of the court. (His lordship referred to the history of the matter and continued.) [p.170]

The respondents have taken a preliminary objection as to the court's jurisdiction to entertain the appeal, viz., that the appeal can lie only if it comes within the ambit of section 3 of the Court of Appeal Ordinance. It is an appeal from a final judgment or decision of the Divisional Court sitting in its original jurisdiction; it is not an appeal in a criminal matter; it cannot be regarded as a claim or question respecting money, goods or other matter, or a civil right, over the amount or value of G100. Therefore (they submit) the appeal cannot lie.

It is conceded that certiorari is a method by which the High Court exercises supervisory jurisdiction over inferior courts; and this is an appeal from a ruling by which the High Court has refused to make the order of certiorari sought. It is contended that the right, civil in nature, in respect of which the application is made in this case cannot be quantified in terms of money. We are of opinion that in the light of the recent decisions of this court in Re Okine and others No.1 [1960] G.L.R. 84 and also in Re Amponsah and Another [1960] G.L.R. 140 we are bound to uphold the contention that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain this appeal. The arguments addressed to us in the instant appeal, both on behalf of the respondents and of the appellant, are substantially the same as in the two other cases to which we have referred. No useful purpose can be served by re-iterating the arguments and the decision of this court on the points raised.

Upon Dr. Danquah's argument, however, that certiorari is not a civil matter and that therefore the appeal is not brought under section 3 of the Court of Appeal Ordinance, we may say that if he is right then he will be completely out of court. If the appeal is not brought under section 3, he has no right of appeal to this court, because he has not been able to refer us to any enactment conferring on this court jurisdiction to entertain an appeal of this sort. We repeat what we said in Re Amponsah (at p.146).

"We are clearly of the opinion that an appellate court has no inherent jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from an order or decision given by a court below it. In all causes or matters an appeal lies only if given by statute."

We may conclude, however, by observing that although in the past this court has entertained appeals in matters of this kind (that is to say, from certiorari proceedings and in the matter of other prerogative writs) the point as to jurisdiction, arising out of the proper interpretation of section 3 of the Court of Appeal Ordinance, relating to the pecuniary value of the rights protected by such prerogative writs, had never been canvassed, and the court omitted to direct attention to it. This is the first time such a point has been taken, and we have therefore to determine the question raised. We understand, however, that future legislation concerning a right of appeal from a decision of the High Court to this court in matters of this sort is receiving consideration.

The preliminary objection succeeds, and the appeal is accordingly dismissed for want of jurisdiction.


<P>Appeal dismissed.</P>

Plaintiff / Appellant


Defendant / Respondent



(1)  Re Okine and Others [1960] G.L.R. 84, C.A.

(2)  Re Amposah and Another [1960] G.L.R. 140.

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