Bwanali v Lilongwe City Assembly and Others (66 of 2007) (66 of 2007) [2004] MWHC 88 (23 August 2004);

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Headnote and Holding: 

This case determined the test for granting interlocutory mandatory injunctions in land ownership disputes.

The applicant sought an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant from allowing vendors to occupy the applicant’s property and that all structures put up by the vendors be pulled down.

The applicant argued that she had the right to the property as a squatter who was regularized as the holder and requested to pay rent and development charges. However, the respondent argued that they had not approved regularization on the land and the illegal development since the applicant encroached on the tree belt and blocked a public foot path. 

The court noted that interlocutory orders are not meant to provide a final relief, preserving the status quo until the issue is determined. The court found that the applicant sought to get a remedy that was permanent in nature in the guise of seeking an interlocutory injunction. It was further noted that the court has the discretion of granting such interlocutory mandatory injunctions but has to exercise great caution. Mainly because of the risk of causing greater injustice. 

The court applied the rules on granting injunctions and found that there were triable issues from both parties that were equally persuasive. The court balanced the grant of the injunction and the injury that may have been occasioned to the defendant, and found it unnecessary to grant the order.

Accordingly, the application was dismissed with costs to the respondent.