1.The Defendant/Applicant herein filed an application dated November 30, 2022 seeking the following orders: -a.That this Honourable Court be pleased to make an Order that the suit herein has abated.b.That the costs of this Application be in the cause.
2.The application is based on the 7 grounds thereof and on the Applicant’s Supporting Affidavit sworn on even date. The applicant avers that he is the registered owner of the suit parcel. That sometimes, in the year 2018, the plaintiff instituted the present suit and similarly obtained injunctory orders pending the final determination of the suit. However, the substantive suit has never been heard since 2018 to date.
3.It his claim that during the intervening period the plaintiff died on 25/9/2021 but has never been substituted, more than a year since his death. He thus contends that the suit herein has since abated by operation of the law.
4.He further claims that he stands to suffer great prejudice unless the orders sought are granted since the plaintiff successors continue to deny him the use of his property, alleging that the interim orders are still in place. He urged the court to allow the application.
5.The Application herein was canvassed by way of written submissions. The Applicant filed his written submissions together with authorities which I have read and considered.
6.The Plaintiff/ Respondent neither filed a Replying Affidavit nor submissions in response to the instant Application. Be as it may, I will proceed to render my Ruling as hereunder;
7.The sole issue for determination before me is whether the instant Application is merited and I will proceed to discuss the same on account of;
8.The Applicant contends that the Plaintiff herein died sometimes on September 25, 2021 but has never been substituted even though it has been more than a year since his death. That there being interim injunctory orders in place, he continues to suffer great prejudice when in fact the Respondents are not keen on prosecuting the substantive suit since its institution in 2018. He urged the court to grant the orders sought.
9.The Plaintiff/ Respondent despite being given an opportunity to respond to the allegations made by the Applicant failed to file any response thereto and has thus not given any explanation why the orders sought by the Applicant should not be granted.
10.Order 24 Rule 3(2) of the Civil Procedure Rules provides the legal framework on the abatement of suits and states as follows: -
11.The provisions on Rule 3(2) above are very clear on what happens where a sole plaintiff dies and no Application for substitution by the legal representatives, has been made to substitute the dead Plaintiff within a year; the suit automatically abates where the action does not survive.
12.I have looked at the record herein and I note that upon the death of the Plaintiff, his beneficiaries/successors were given an opportunity to regularize his substitution pursuant to the provisions of the Law of Succession Act. The matter has subsequently come up in court on several occasions to confirm the status of the said substitution but there has never been any representative and/or explanation tendered for the delay in filing the substitution thereof. Further, there was no response to the instant Application and this court is therefore unable to find in favor of the Respondent’s estate as there has never been explanation tendered on the delay occasioned, there is no indication whether succession proceedings have been instituted at all or whether a grant of letters of administration has been issued to any of the beneficiaries/ successors or at all.
13.The Plaintiff having died on the 25/9/2021, it has been a period of 14 months since his death, thus at the time of the filing of the instant Application, the 12 months’ period had since lapsed. Therefore, by reason of effluxion of time, the said suit has abated.
15.Guided by the above decision; this court finds that there being no Application for substitution of the plaintiff or for the extention of time within the requisite 1 year (12 months), the suit has abated. Further, there has been no sufficient justification or explanation tendered for the extention of the interim orders of status quo/ injunction in place at the expense of the Applicant; the Plaintiff’s successors have not shown any interest in prosecuting the matter to its logical conclusion.
16.The upshot of the foregoing analysis is that the application dated November 30, 2022 is merited. The Plaintiff’s suit is hereby struck out with costs to the Applicant and any consequential orders issued are hereby vacated. It is so ordered.