PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – DOCTRINE OF LIS PENDENS – Whether the doctrine of lis pendens applies to every suit

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“Counsel for the Appellant submitted vehemently that the doctrine of lis pendens is inapplicable to the instant case as the doctrine only applies to cases where a party seeks to recover or assert title to real property. However, counsel seems to have lost sight of the fact that when a suit is pending before a Court, neither party is permitted to dispose of the subject matter of the suit in order not to overreach the other party. This is in accord with common sense and fair play. In this case, the substantive suit before the trial Court and the Respondent’s appeal before the lower Court challenging the dismissal of its application for interlocutory injunction were still pending at the time the Appellants executed the Deed of Sale in favour of a third party. In the circumstance, the Appellants were precluded from transferring the factory of the Respondent, being the subject of litigation, to a third party. What the Appellants did is akin to self-help and taking the law into one’s hand in a matter over which the Courts were already seised. This has been condemned in several decisions. It has no place in a civilized society and this Court will not lend its judicial credence to it. See the cases of GOV. OF LAGOS STATE V. OJUKWU (1986) 1 NWLR (PT. 18) 621, OKOCHI V. ANIMKWOI (2003) 18 NWLR (PT. 851) 1 AND AGBAI V. OKOGBUE (1991) 7 NWLR (PT. 204) 391. The sale of the said factory is therefore void ab initio and liable to be set aside.” Per ADAMU JAURO, JSC in NIDB & ANOR v. KAN BISCUITS CO. LTD (2022-LCER-46534-SC) (Pp 19 – 21; Paras F – A)

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