BEST LAW REPORT SUBSCRIPTION PRICE!!

  • Regd. Trustees, Living Christ Mission v. Aduba
  • 6
  • 2000-07-10
  • ₦ 200
  • Buy Now

Regd. Trustees, Living Christ Mission v. Aduba

THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF THE LIVING CHRIST MISSION

L.O. DIKE

E.A.  ONYIA

D.O.  NWOSU

          V

DR.  OSITA  ADUBA

MRS.  PATRICIA  ADUBA SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

ADOLPHUS  G.  KARIBI-WHYTE, J.S.C. ( Presided )

EMMANUEL  O.  OGWUEGBU,  J.S.C.

ALOYSIUS  KATSINA-ALU, J.S.C.

UMARU  A.  KALGO, J.S.C.

SAMUEL  O.  UWAIFO, J.S.C. ( Read the Leading Judgment )

SC.107/1994

FRIDAY, 4TH  FEBRUARY,  2000

ACTIONS - Two actions on substantially the same filed at the Magistrates’ Court and High Court - Determination of which is better to handle the matter -  Relevant considerations - Question which action was filed first - Whether relevant

ACTIONS - Two actions on substantially the same matter filed at the Magistrates’ Court  and High Court - Which Court is better to handle the matter - Question of mala  fide  in filing later action - Relevance of

COURTS - Two Courts faced with substantially the same question - Questions for determination in one Court more than the other covering the questions for determination in the other Court - Which court to decide the matter

JUDICIAL PRECEDENT - Nnama  vs.  Nwanebe  (1991) 2 N.W.L.R.  (Pt.172) 181 -  What it decides

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Multiplication of actions - Mala  fide in bringing later action - How and when inferred

Issue:

Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in ordering a stay of the proceedings in the High Court matter pending the determination of the suit in

Facts:

In suit No. MO/660/92 instituted at the Magistrates’ Court on 8th September, 1992, the respondents claimed against the appellants as tenants for possession and  mesne profit N200.00 a month from January 1, 1992 until possession of a flat and outhouses at No. 42 Mba road, Inland town Onitsha was given up.

The appellants on the other hand took out a writ of summons in suit No. 0/ 390/92 on 2nd October, 1992 at the Onitsha High Court claiming inter alia a declaration that having being permitted by their late landlord, Mr. Osita Aduba to erect additional one room to a flat on the ground floor of 42, Mba Road, they cannot be ejected summarily by the defendants, they also claim that the defendant’s claim for possession in suit No. MO/660/92 pending then at the Magistrates’ Court was incompetent and illegal. They also claimed N900,000.00 for damages.

The respondents filed an application at the High Court for an order to strike out  the suit on the ground that  “it is an abuse of  Court Process having been instituted during the pendency of suit No. MO/660/92 which is an action between the same parties.

The learned Trial Judge refused the application holding inter alia that the Magistrates’ Court has no powers to make declaratory judgment and the claim for N900,000 damages was clearly above the jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court. Being dissatisfied, the  defendant/respondents appealed to the Court of Appeal which court allowed the appeal and ordered a stay of proceedings of the suit in Onitsha High Court pending the determination of suit No. MO/660/92 in the magistrates’ Court.

The plaintiffs/appellants appealed to the Supreme Court contending inter alia that the Court of Appeal was wrong in applying the decisions in Nnama vs. Nwanebe (1991) 2 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 172) 181 to the instant case.  It was contended on behalf of the defendants/respondents that the fact that the present appellants added a relief for N900,000.00 is merely a ploy to frustrate the Magistrates’ Court case from going on and is purely based on mala fide