PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – DOCTRINE OF LIS PENDENS – Application of the doctrine of lis pendens


“It is settled that the doctrine of lis pendens is applicable only when the subject matter of litigation is real property-land and not personal property or choses in action. In ORONTI V. ONIGBANJO (2012) LPELR-7804 (SC) Pp. 15-17, paras. G-F: “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. See Bellamy v. Sabine (1857) 26 LJ (NS) Equity Reports 797 at 803; (b) That the action or lis was in respect of real property; it never applies to personal property. See WIGRAM v. BUCKLEY (1894) 3 Ch 483 at 492-493; (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: see CALGARY AND EDMONTON HAND CO V. DOBINSON (1974) 1 AllER 484 at 489 and (d) That the other party had been served with the originating process in the pending action. See DRESSER UK LTD v. FALCONGALT FREIGHT MANAGEMENT LTD (1992) ALL ER 450 at 523. 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. I refer to Nsirim v. Nsirim (1995) 9 NWLR (Pt. 418) 144, Enekwe v. International Merchant Bank of Nigeria Limited (2006) 19 NWLR (Pt. 1013) 147.” Per HELEN MORONKEJI OGUNWUMIJU, JSC in NIDB & ANOR v. KAN BISCUITS CO. LTD (2022-LCER-46534-SC) (Pp 16 – 17; Paras C – F)

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