The court considered whether the suit property was subject to the Expropriated Properties Act. The court held that ‘former owner’, under section 1(c) of the Expropriated Properties Act, meant any person who was the registered owner of property who was expelled from Uganda during the period of the military regime or was otherwise dispossessed of the property. The court was satisfied that the appellant’s family was at all times in occupation of the suit land save in 1979 when the appellant’s grandfather was exiled. The court accordingly concluded that the suit property was never expropriated and therefore not subject to the act.
The court further considered whether the suit land was lawfully leased to the respondent. The court held The court held that the district land board could not take over the role of a lessor in respect to a lease formally issued by a town council since statutory leases granted to urban authorities ceased to exist upon the advent of the 1995 Constitution. The court was satisfied that the district land could only receive new applications from former lessees of the property. The court accordingly concluded that the suit land was unlawfully leased to the respondent when the appellant occupied and claimed ownership of the same.