LAND LAW – LIS PENDENS – Meaning of the doctrine of lis pendens; conditions for its application

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“Lis pendens simply put, is a pending lawsuit. It is the jurisdiction, power, or control which Courts acquire over property in litigation, pending action until final determination. Equally, the doctrine of lis pendens evolved in order to prevent parties in a pending suit from alienating the subject matter so as to prejudice the opposite party. In Oronti v. Onigbanjo (2012) LPELR 7804 SC, this Court held as follows: “This Court had in Alhaji Usman Bua v. Bashiru Dauda (2003) 13 NWLR (Pt. 838) 657 per Uwaifo JSC reiterated the conditions on which the doctrine of lis pendens would apply. It was stated thus: That it must be shown (a) That at the time of the sale of the property, the suit regarding the dispute about the said property was already pending; (b) That the action or lis was in respect of real property; it never applies to personal property; (c) That the object of the action was to recover or assert title to a specific real property; that is to say, an action in a subject matter adverse to the owner in respect of some substantive right which is proprietary in nature; and (d) That the other party had been served with the originating process in the pending action. It must be stated that the four conditions above must co-exist before the doctrine of lis pendens would apply. Another way of saying it, is that the absence of any of those conditions would render inapplicable the doctrine. It is that simple.” Per ABDU ABOKI, JSC in OHAEGBU & ORS v. REGD TRUSTEES OF THE CAPUCHIN FRIARS MINOR NIGERIA (2022-LCER-46522-SC) (Pp 22 – 23; Paras E – E)

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