Case Brief: Muwonge & Another v Goldsmith

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Main Topic (s): Security for costs

Summary of the Facts:

The Applicants, John Bosco Muwonge and Herbert Muwonge applied (in Miscellaneous Application 3018 of 2023) for an order requiring the Respondent, Goldsmith Peter (formerly Namakajo Patrick Senfuma, trading as Kampala Nursery and Day Care Centre), to furnish security for costs incurred in defending Civil Suit No. 662 of 2022.

The Respondent had initiated the suit seeking declarations of trespassing and fraudulent acquisition of land titles by the Applicants, among other reliefs.

Legal Issues Before the Court:

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  • Whether the Respondent should be ordered to furnish security for the payment of all costs incurred by the Applicants in defending Civil Suit No. 662 of 2022.

The decision of the Court:

The Court, presided over by Judge Naluzze Aisha Batala ordered the Respondent to furnish security for costs amounting to UGX 50,000,000 (Fifty Million Shillings) within three months from the order date.

The application by the Applicants was successful, and costs were to be determined in the main suit.


Hon. Lady Justice Naluzze Aisha Batala/ Photo: New Vision.
Hon. Lady Justice Naluzze Aisha Batala/ Photo: New Vision.

The Court’s decision was based on several factors:

Frivolous and Vexatious Nature of the Suit: The Court considered whether the suit lacked legal basis and was intended to harass the Applicants.

While it did not conclusively determine the suit to be frivolous or vexatious, it acknowledged that the preliminary objections raised by the Applicants could potentially dispose of the suit.

Good Defence: The Applicants demonstrated a plausible defense, arguing that the Respondent’s certificate of purchase related to a different property from that of the Applicants and that the title to the land had already expired before the cessation of the business associated with the Respondent.

Domicile and Financial Status of the Respondent: The Respondent was not domiciled within Uganda and therefore out of the Court’s jurisdiction and had no known assets in Uganda, making enforcement of a costs order in case the Applicants are successful in the main suit challenging.

Counsel on Record

Applicants: Represented by M/s Taremwa & Co. Advocates.

Respondent: No representation was noted on the court record.

Date of the Judgment: Issued on May 27, 2024.

Conclusion

This judgment reinforces the principles surrounding the granting of security for costs under the Civil Procedure Rules (Order 26 rules 1 & 2 of the Civil Procedure Rules), emphasizing the protection of defendants from undue expenses when defending potentially frivolous or vexatious suits, especially when the plaintiff is not domiciled within the jurisdiction and lacks sufficient assets to cover potential costs.



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