➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Lamidi Ogbo Fakoya v. St. Pauls Church, Shagamu (1966) – SC
by “PipAr” Branham-Paul C. Chima.
Supreme Court – SC. 238/1964
➥ JUDGEMENT DELIVERED ON:
Friday, March 4, 1966
➥ AREA(S) OF LAW
Registration of instrument.
➥ PRINCIPLES OF LAW
⦿ COURT HAS TO ADMINISTER THE STATUTES LAW AS IS
It would fall far short of ideal justice between man and man if, where no third party had been prejudiced by the omission, a party to a contract could evade his obligations merely be- cause the other party had not gone to a government office and registered the contract, but the courts have to administer the statute law as it stands and since the submission has been made the Court must consider its validity. — Brett, JSC.
➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT
⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT
➥ CASE FACT/HISTORY
It was not in dispute that the appellant and two of his sisters agreed in writing to sell the land to the respondents, as being the property of their family, the Fakoya family, and received payment for it. The two sisters executed the conveyance, but the appellant refused to do so, and asserted that since agreeing to sell the land he had discovered for the first time that the land did not belong to the Fakoya family but to the whole of the Ogunlana Ogunekun family, of which the Fakoya family forms a part.
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Western Region High Court granting specific performance of a contract for the sale of land, and directing the original appellant, Lamidi Ogbo Fakoya, to execute a conveyance of the land to the respondents. A stay of execution was refused, and Lamidi Ogbo Fakoya executed the conveyance while the appeal was pending, but after doing this and before the appeal was heard he died, and his brother, David Adeyemi Fakoya, was substituted for him as appellant. References to the appellant in this judgment mean the original appellant.
➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION(S)
I. Whether the respondents ought not to have been allowed to plead or prove the agreement, on the ground that it had not been registered under the Land Instruments Registration Law?
RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
A. THE AGREEMENT FOR SALE IS REGISTRABLE INSTRUMENT
“Section 201 of the Property and Conveyancing Law amended the regulations, and removed the exemption from registration formerly conferred by regulation 5, so that an agreement for sale is now registerable as an estate contract. For these reasons it is clear that the agreement, Exhibit A, was an instrument for the purposes of the Land Instruments Registration Law, and registerable under the law.”
B. THE AGREEMENT WAS TO SHOW THAT A CONTRACTUAL RIGHT EXISTS
“We are of the view that in the present case the purpose of producing the agreement was not to show that the respondents had an equitable interest in the land, but to show that they had contractual rights of a kind which the court will enforce by specific performance. In principle, the basis of the remedy of specific performance is not the conversion of an equitable interest into a legal interest, but the enforcement of a contract where damages would not afford a complete remedy, and although specific performance is more frequently granted where the contract is for the sale of land than in other cases, this is not because of any distinction between the jural nature of a right to purchase land and other contractual rights but because damages are less often a complete remedy for the breach of a contract for the sale of land than for the breach of other contracts.”
“In our opinion it was admissible for the purpose for which it was produced, that is to say for the enforcement of a personal obligation which it imposed on the appellant, and we reject the submission that it was produced “as affecting land.” We would add that our decision in no way erodes the safeguards which the registration of instruments is intended to provide.”
“The appeal is dismissed, with costs which we assess at 30 guineas.”
➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS
➥ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
section 16 of the Land Instrument Registration Law provides that- “No instrument shall be pleaded or given in evidence in any court as affecting any land unless the same shall have been registered in the proper office as specified in section 3.”
Sections 2, 200, 201, Property and Conveyancing Law, 1959.
➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)