My Lords, this appeal presents an interesting scenario wherein the Court of Appeal in the judgment on appeal before us unanimously departed from its own decision on a point of law. By Article 136(5) of the Constitution, 1992 the Court of Appeal is bound by its previous decisions but in this case the court reversed itself because it came to the conclusion that its previous decision was a nullity. A previous decision of the Court of Appeal which is null and void may certainly be departed from but whether the previous decision in this case was a nullity or not, the analysis which follows will indicate.
The main issue that the Court of Appeal was confronted with in both decisions which were, except for one judge, by the same panel, was whether or not an action in the High Court praying for a declaration that a judgment of a chieftaincy tribunal is a nullity is a cause or matter affecting chieftaincy over which the High Court undoubtedly has no jurisdiction. Put in anoth…