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Defining the Scope and Limit of Application of The Doctrine of Lis Pendens: Need for A Restatement of Principles

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Defining the Scope and Limit of Application of The Doctrine of Lis Pendens: Need for A Restatement of Principles

Abstract

The central thesis of this paper is to show that the scope and limit of the doctrine of lis pendens is not certain and there is an urgent need for restatement of the scope and limit of the doctrine in the interest of our jurisprudence. In most cases, it was held emphatically that the doctrine is limited in its application to suit on assertion of title to real property and never applied to personal property; so strict is this limit on the scope of the doctrine that it was held not applicable to declaration of title to land or chieftaincy matters. Another line of cases held that the doctrine is applicable to any suit inclusive of declaration of rights, personal property, tangibles, intangibles, wrongful eviction of tenant by landlord as well as election disputes. The view will be canvassed in this paper that the doctrine is limited in its scope. It is applicable exclusively to cases on assertion of title to land and its extension to any other suit cannot be justified on principles but more importantly, there is need for judicial rethinking to streamline the grey areas and harmonize the differences in the decisions.

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