China Copper Mines Limited v Tikumbe Mining Limited (Appeal 17 of 2017) [2017] ZMHC 505 (14 September 2017)

Case summary

The matter dealt with an appeal against the decision of the High Court to uphold the deputy registrar’s decision to grant judgment on admission. The plaintiff sought an injunction against the defendant to restrain it from mining on its land and a declaration that the defendant’s mining activities were illegal. The parties were engaged in mining on properties adjacent to each other. The deputy registrar found that the defendant on its own admission had encroached on the plaintiff’s land and this decision on appeal was upheld.

The Court of Appeal considered whether there was an unequivocal admission of liability by the defendant and whether the High Court was right in relying on its finding of fact and law in an interlocutory application to uphold the appeal. It found that the admissions by the defendant were not clear, unambiguous and unconditional and did not reveal an intention to be bound by them so as to deny its valuable right to contest the claim against it. The court observed further that it was not the duty of the court at that stage to pronounce orders that would determine the reliefs being sought except the relief relating to the injunction. It held therefore, that the reliance by that court on its findings of fact in an interlocutory application was improper.

Accordingly, the court allowed the appeal, set aside the judgment on admission and remitted the case to the High Court to proceed to trial.

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