This paper is set to advise John Phiri on the best possible action to take in relation to redress in the courts of Law. In due course, this paper will attempt to demonstrate why the said action is the best under the prevailing circumstances. This paper will also employ relevant legislation and authorities and draw a conclusion to elucidate this fact. CONTROL OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS
To fully advise John, it is important to note that administrative actions emanate from public authorities. Control of these public authorities relates to the method of acquisition of power exercised, the source of such power as well as whether or not such power ought to be exercised pursuant to a particular procedure. It is clear to note that the power in question from the facts of the case at hand is that of the Commissioner of Lands, an office created by statute, with powers prescribed and outlined in relation to manner of exercise. In relation to control, more often than not the prescribing statute itself does provide for administrative mechanisms of control in addition to methods of redress to the courts of Law. This position is well illustrated in the case of New Plast Industries V The Commissioner of Lands and The Attorney-General, where it was held that the mode of commencement of any action is generally provided by the relevant statute. In effect the court was of the view that where a statute provides for the procedure of commencing an action, a party has no option but to abide by it. It is safe also to assume from the foregoing authority that where a statute provides for an internal procedure, as it were, for dispute resolution, that said procedure must be exhausted before further redress can be sought. Thus, various statutes as in the case at hand afford institutions and mechanisms to supervise the administration, and ensure that all administrative agencies and officers work within the law. The question that needs to be expounded is under which statute the Commissioner of Lands purports to exercise his authority in light of the facts of the case at hand. The answer to this question will invariably affect the best possible action to take against the decision of the Commissioner of Lands to cancel John Phiri’s title to the piece of land in question and offer it to Musonda Mpela. Prima facie evidence suggests that matters relating to land, especially those on title fall within the ambit of the Lands Act Cap 184 of the Laws of Zambia and the Lands and Deeds Registry Act Cap 185 of the Laws of Zambia and that these statutes themselves provide for internal checks of administrative function. ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS TRIBUNALS
It is important to note that the Lands Act establishes a Lands Tribunal, an innovation for the settlement of disputes. The tribunal was created as a forum for speedy adjudication of land disputes as well as a way of reducing the cost of litigation in land matters. It is of cardinal importance to mention that administrative tribunals, like the Lands Tribunal are advantageous in relation to settling any question of authority emanating from a particular statute because of speed, cheapness, informality and in particular - expertise. Further, for most if not all tribunals, the hearings are informal and there is no hard and fast requirement to observe the rules of evidence as is the case in formal court proceedings. This view is aptly illustrated in the case of May Vijaygiri Goswami V Dr Mohamed Anwar Essa And Commissioner Of Lands , where the question arose as to the extent the rules of evidence applied to the Lands Tribunal. The court was of the view that the Lands Tribunal is not fettered by legalistic technicalities and it is expected to do justice to the parties on the case as found after it has concluded its inquiry. Having established that, it is important to institute just which matters may be brought before the Lands Tribunal, in effect ascertaining its jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the...
Bibliography: Craig, P.P. Administrative Law (Sweet & Maxwell, Fifth Edition 2006)
Wade, H.W.R. Administrative Law (6th ed, Oxford University Press, 1998)
LEGISLATION REFERRED TO
Rules of the Supreme Court of England (1999 Edition).
New Plast Industries V The Commissioner of Lands and The Attorney-General - SCZ Judgment No. 8 of 2001
R V Bolton Justices, ex parte Scally and other applications (1991) 2 All ER 619
R V Inland Revenue Commissioners, ex parte Preston (1984) 3 All ER 625
Saul Kureba V Ganizani Goma and The Attorney General (1995) S.J
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