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WARE v. SOBOAH


  • appeal
  • 1960-10-25
  • SUPREME COURT
  • GLR 212-213
  • Print

VAN LARE, SARKODEE-ADOO AND AKIWUMI, JJ.S.C.


Summary

Land?-Claim for declaration of title and ownership?-Dismissal of plaintiff?'s claim?-Finding by native court of joint ownership?-Incompetency of such finding.

Headnotes

The plaintiff sued the defendant in the Buem Krachi Native Court ?"A?" for a declaration of title to a piece of land. The defendant pleaded ?"not liable.?" The trial court dismissing the plaintiff?'s claim of absolute ownership but proceeded to make a finding that the land in dispute was jointly owned by both parties. The court made a consequential order that either party had the right to call on the other for demarcation of the boundary between them and further ordered that each party should bear his own costs. The defendant appealed against these orders and the Land Court (Ollennu, J.) allowed the appeal on the ground that as the plaintiff had not established his claim to absolute ownership the action should have been dismissed simpliciter. The defendant was awarded costs. The defendant further appealed to the Supreme Court. The relief sought was the deletion of the finding of joint ownership from the judgment of the native court.

Judgement

APPEAL against a decision of the Land Court, Accra, on April 8, 1959, allowing an appeal against a decision of the Buem Krachi Native Court ?"A?" on October 1, 1959 in favour of the defendant in an action for declaration of title to land. [p.213]

JUDGMENT OF VAN LARE J.S.C.

Van Lare, J.S.C. delivered the judgment of the court. In this case the respondent instituted an action against the appellant for a declaration of title to an area of land which on the evidence has been in a communal use and occupation of the people of both parties?-Ampeyohene and Pampawiehene respectively. The respondent was therefore unable to establish his claim that he was the sole absolute owner of the disputed land. The trial native court in dismissing the respondent's claim of title or absolute ownership however made a finding that the parties are joint owners of the disputed land. This finding of fact is bound to raise certain controversial matters and as, on the evidence the appellant also laid claim in him alone as against the respondent, it is not competent for the trial native court to make such a pronouncement. The appellant failed to get the learned judge of the Land Court to delete such a controversial finding of fact from the judgment of the trial native court, it not being an issue before the court. This appeal is brought before this court with the sole purpose of securing deletion of the said controversial finding from the judgment of the native court. Upon listening to arguments of counsel on either side we find that there is agreement to the effect that the native court's declaration of "joint ownership" is unfortunate and misleading. There is no such evidence of " joint ownership." The evidence rather points to the fact that the disputed land has been in the communal use and occupation of the people of both parties to the suit.

In the result I think that justice can best be done in this matter by ordering that that part of the native court's judgment purporting to decree " joint ownership " of the disputed land be deleted, and is accordingly so deleted. The judgment of the learned judge of the Land Court from which this appeal is brought stands save as is so varied.

The appeal is accordingly allowed.

Decision

Appeal allowed.

Plaintiff / Appellant

Boateng

Defendant / Respondent

Akufo-Addo

Referals

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