15 Aug Theophilus Teiko Tagoe, The Nungua Stool Vs. Dr. Prempeh, Benjamin Amartey Mensah, Civil Appeal No. J4/29/2022, Delivered On 26 April 2023 (Supreme Court)
“…the rules of Court make provision for the issuance of Form 6 once and this is done after the record of appeal is ready. There is no provision for the issuance of another Form 6 by Registrar of the Court of Appeal after corrections have been made to the Record of Appeal.”
This is a land matter that rose from the High Court through to the Supreme Court. The Defendants/Appellants/Appellants (the “Appellants”) claimed that the land in dispute formed part of the Tesa lands whereas the Plaintiffs/Respondents/Respondents (the “Respondents”) claimed that the land fell under the Adjirigano lands.
The High Court Judge entered judgment in favour of the Respondents against the Appellants and consequently dismissed the Appellants’ counterclaim. Aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court, the Appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal which affirmed the judgment of the High Court and dismissed the appeal. The Appellants then appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal.
Before the appeal was considered by the Supreme Court, a preliminary legal objection was raised by the Respondents praying the Court to strike out a new Statement of Case filed by the Appellants because it was contrary to Rules 14 and 15 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1996 (C.I. 16).
Rule 14 of CI.16 essentially provides that when the Record of Appeal (the “Record”) is ready, the Registrar of the Court of Appeal (the “Registrar”) must notify the parties by the issuance and service of Form 6 following which, the Registrar of the Court of Appeal is required to transfer the Record together with other relevant documents, to the Registrar of the Supreme Court.
Under Rule 15 of C.I. 16, the Appellant is required to file his Statement of Case based on the grounds of appeal within three (3) weeks of being notified that the Record is ready or within the timelines stipulated by the Supreme Court.
In response to the preliminary legal objection, the Appellants stated that they filed a new Statement of Case because the Registrar of the Court of Appeal had issued and served on the parties a new Form 6 after an order by the Supreme Court for the rectification of the Record.
The Appellants further argued that the preliminary legal objection was without merit because if the second Statement of Case had not been filed, it would mean that the first Statement of Case would be based on the old Record, as it existed before the rectification, whereas that of the Respondents would be based on the rectified Record.
The Supreme Court held that the Rules of Court make provision for Form 6 to be issued only once, and this is done after the Record is ready. The Court further pointed out that Rule 15 (11) of C.I.16 allows a party to request permission (leave) to amend part of their Statement of Case any time before judgment. It therefore concluded that the Registrar of the Court of Appeal was wrong for issuing a second Form 6, and so were the Appellants, for filing another Statement of Case.
In the apex Court’s final remarks, it opined that if the need arose for the Appellant to advance further legal arguments as a result of the rectification of the Record of Appeal, the Appellants or their counsel should rather have applied to the Court for leave to amend the already filed Statement of Case in accordance with Rule 15(11) of C.I.16, instead filling an entirely new Statement of Case.
Consequently, the Supreme Court struck out the 2nd Statement of Case filed for and on behalf of the Appellant as being duplicitous.
INSIGHT: Civil Form 6 can only be issued once. Thus, where a party desires to provide further information by way of legal arguments to the Court in their Statement of Case, following the rectification of the Record of Appeal, the party must seek leave of the Court to amend the already filed Statement of Case instead of filing a fresh Statement of Case.
Summer Legal Intern 2023