THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF UGANDA AT KAMAPALA
CORAM: HON. JUSTICE A. TWINOMUJUNI, JA
HON. JUSTICE C.K. BYAMUGISHA, JA
HON. JUSTICE S.B.K. KAVUMA, JA
CIVIL APPEAL NO.87 OF 2008
KASIRYE, BYARUHANGA & CO. ADVOCATES…APPELLANT
A N D
MUGERWA PIUS MUGALAASI…………………..RESPONDENT
[Appeal from the orders of
the High Court of Uganda at Kampala (A. Singh Choudry, J)
dated 15th September 2008 in Misc. Appl. HCCS No.244 of 2008]
This is an appeal from the ruling of the High Court against an order for injunction to restrain the appellant and four others from dealing with the property known as Block 12 Plots 200, 208 and 2009 Nakivubo Kampala which are subject of HCCS No.224 of 2008 now pending in the High Court against the said appellant and the four others.
The background to this appeal is as follows:
On 14th August 2008, the respondent entered into a sale agreement with four people who are not parties to this appeal. The agreement was in respect of Block 12 Plots 206, 207 and 209 Nakivubo, Kampala. On 19th August 2008 before payment could be finalised, the sellers rescinded the sale agreement through the appellant firm of advocates who had acted as lawyers for the four vendors in the sale transaction. The vendors refused to hand over title and to transfer documents of the land to the respondent.
On 26th August 2008, the respondent filed in the High Court Civil Suit No.224 of 2008 against the four vendors together with the appellant as the 5th defendant. The suit requested court for declarations that;-
(ii) Permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from engaging in any further dealings in the suit property.
On 15th September 2008, the application came up for hearing before Hon. Justice Anup Singh Choudry in the Civil Division of the High Court. All the parties were represented. The record of proceedings shows that the court opened at 9.00 am and went on the whole morning. The record shows that the there was, throughout the entire morning, a dialogue between the trial judge and the three counsel who represented the parties. The exchange covers 23 pages of typed proceedings and ends with the following order of the learned trial judge:-
Upon hearing counsel for the plaintiff, and for the first to fourth defendants and the fifth defendant, it is ordered that:
2. The copy of this order to be served on the 2nd Purchaser Ephraim Ntanganda.
3. Both parties to serve and file the documents which they intend to rely on by way of proper bundles by 30th September 2008 by 4.00 p.m.
4. Both parties to serve and file witness statements by 7th October 2008.
5. The 5th defendant to produce receipts showing monies received, had and paid out in respect of the sale and purchase of the property to both the purchasers. Receipts include voucher, bank statement, instruction, cash receipts, cheque studs, transfer form, bank acknowledgement and confirmation.
6. The original receipt book containing receipt No.3496 to be filed in the Court. Plaintiff may inspect the same in the Court.
7. The electronic file relating to the sale to both the purchaser by 5th defendant be served and filed in the court.
8. Both sides to file skeleton arguments by 30th October 2008.
9. Both sides include all the defendants.
10. Hearing to be fixed on 7th November at 9.00am.”
2. The learned trial judge erred in law and fact, and denied the appellant a fair trial, when he wrongly omitted the mandatory Mediation and Scheduling Conference, ordered the filing of documents, “Witness Statements” and “Skeleton Arguments”, and then fixed a date for delivery of his “Judgment”.
3. The learned trial judge erred in law and fact and wrongly denied appellant a fair trial when he prejudged the case against the appellant by making conclusive pronouncements against the appellant on the main suit when the same was not before the leaned judge.
In conceding to the appeal Mr. Musisi was reacting to Mr. Tibaijuka’s submission that the proceedings were entirely invalid and had totally denied the appellant the right to be heard contrary to the constitutional provisions in article 28 and 44 of the Constitution. Mr.Tibaijuka also submitted that since the respondent never received a fair hearing, the order of injunction made against him cannot, and should not be allowed to stand.
I have looked at the proceedings of the High Court in Misc. Appl. No.444/2008 dated 15th September 2008. The record reveals a procedure completely unknown and totally unacceptable in our jurisdiction. Though the proceedings were about an order of injunction, the learned trial judge delved into too many extraneous matters including the merits of HCCS No.224 of 2008 and totally forgot to deal with the application before him. In the process, both parties were never allowed to address the court on the matter before it then. It was, to say, the least, an extraordinary court session, the likes of which I have not come across in the common law legal systems. Since Mr. Musisi, learned counsel for the respondent conceded that the proceedings were irregular and could not have afforded the applicant a fair hearing, I would refrain from putting my learned brother to any further task and only observe that to the extent that the procedure denied the appellant a fair trial, it was invalid and no order made following the procedure should be allowed to see the light of any day. It follows that all orders of the court made on 15th September 2008 in the said Miscellaneous Application are invalid and ought to be set aside, including the order of injunction made by the learned trial judge, to the extent that it applies to the appellant in this appeal.
On 27th August 2008, his Worship Henry Haduli, the Deputy Registrar of the High Court made the following interim order:-
In the result, I find merits in this appeal which is hereby allowed with the following orders.
Dated at Kampala this…04th …..day of…June…….2009.
Hon. Justice Amos Twinomujuni
JUSTICE OF APPEAL.
JUDGMENT OF BYAMUGISHA JA
Dated at Kampala this 4th day of June, 2009.
Justice of Appeal
JUDGEMENT OF S.B.K KAVUMA
I agree with the introduction, the background to the appeal, the representation of the parties and the submissions of counsel for the parties. I also agree with my brother’s reasoning in that part of the judgement dealing with the way the proceedings at the High court on the 15th September 2008 before Justice Anaup Singh Choundry when the judge heard Miscellaneous Application No. 444 of 2008 went and most of my brother’s orders in relation thereto especially when Twinomujuni JA states:-
On the 15th September, Justice Anaup Singh Choundry heard that application, though in a most strange manner. The judge indeed issued a temporary injunction in favour of the applicants. That is the injunction which is the subject of this appeal which, in my view, remains the only court order of a temporary injunction on record until it is vacated or nullified by court. By that development alone, the interim order of injunction of the 27th August 2008 ceased to exist. It lapsed. There is, therefore, in my view, nothing of it to be revived or continued.
Any attempt to continue or revive that interim order would, in my view, pose serious problems.
In the first place, it would have the effect of sustaining the argument by counsel for the respondent that the proceedings of the 15th September 2008 before Justice Anaup Singh Choundry could be found irregular but the injunction the judge issued could be maintained. This would ran contrary to the holding of my brother Twinomujuni JA that “ It follows that all orders………………………….are invalid and ought to be set aside, including the order of injunction made by the learned judge………………”.
I accept the submissions of counsel for the appellant when he stated:-
I find the unquestionably authoritative case of De Souza vs Tanga Town Council  E.A 377 (CAA) at page 388, F-G. very pertinent to the (CA) matter now before court. In that case, Sir Kenneth O’cannor P, as he then was, had this to say:-
“If the principles of natural justice are violated in respect of any decision, it is indeed immaterial whether the same decision would have been arrived at in the absence of the departure from the essential principles of justice. That decision must be declared to be no decision.”
In the second place, any attempt to continue or revive the High Court Deputy Registrar’s interim order of injunction would have the effect of this court, as an appellate court, reviving or continuing an expired order which, even the High court itself which issued the interim order, could not do for, in my view, the Deputy Registrar was functus officio with regard to that interim order. Not even s.11 of the Judicature Act can be properly called into play.
Thirdly, it is important and necessary to remember that the court of appeal does not, in this matter, have any application before it for a temporary injunction. It is a cardinal principle of our law and our judicial system that, as Prof. Dr. George W. Kanyeihamba JSC observed in his book entitled Kanyeihamba’s Commentaries on Law, Politics and Governance at page 42,
For the reasons given above, I respectfully differ from some of the views, orders and decisions of my brother in the areas of the judgement prepared by him in this appeal as indicated but I am in agreement with him that, subject to what I have just stated, this appeal has merit and should be allowed.
I would, therefore, allow the appeal and propose the following orders
Justice of Appeal