Pilot Law

Brief court decisions on civil wrongs


By Safi Jimba

False imprisonment (and slander) II

Continued from last Week

Held: (1) The Magistrates’ Courts Rules provide that the substance of the action should be stated in the plaint; they do not require that a plaintiff should do more than disclose in writing the substance of his action and such particulars as he thinks fit.

(2) This is subject to the right of a party to apply to the magistrate to make any amendment which is necessary to determine the real questions in issue. No such application was made in this case.

(3) The appellant was not deceived or misled and section 54 of the High Court Law precluded the objection being taken on appeal.

(4) In order to substantiate an action for damages for false imprisonment, the plaintiff must show that his freedom was restrained, and there was no evidence that it was.

HURLEY S.P.J. (delivering the judgment of the court): “The procedure in the magistrate’s court which tried this case is regulated by the Magistrate’s Courts Rules, 1955. Order 2, rule 1 of those rules provides that civil proceedings in a magistrate’s court are to be begun by entering a statement in writing called a plaint, stating the name and last known place of abode of the parties and the substance of the action intended to brought. Under rule 2(1), a plaint may be refused if it discloses no cause of action or is in respect of a matter outside the jurisdiction of the court. When a plaint is entered the court, under order 3, and 1, must issue a summons in the prescribed form. The forms provide that particulars of the claim should be annexed to the summons, but the form and contents of such particulars are nowhere prescribed. The Rules then do not require that a plaintiff should disclose in writing more than the substance of his action and such particulars as he may think requisite.

To be continued next week


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