A single executor or administrator cannot convey land of a deceased person without the express consent or authority of the co-executors or co-administrators, Supreme Court rules in Silver Byaruhanga V Fr. Emmanuel Byaruhanga & Rudeja (Civil Appeal No. 09 of 2014), 10th September, 2020.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision on 10th September, 2020 declared that Section 272 of the Succession Act does not confer powers on a single executor or administrator to singularly exercise powers vested in the joint executors or administrators with respect to conveyancing of land belonging to the estate of a deceased without the express consent or authority of the co-executors or co-administrators. This overrules the interpretation that had been upheld by the court of appeal.
Whilst delivering the lead judgment of Court in Silver Byaruhanga V Fr. Ruvugwaho & Anor (Civil Appeal No. 09 0f 2014), Lady Justice Arach Amoko ruled that the law on application of Section 272 of the Succession Act is now settled. Where executors or administrators jointly apply for probate or letters of administration and a grant is obtained simultaneously or together, they must act jointly at all times. The section is read together with Section 134 of the Registration of Titles Act which states that where Probate is granted to several executors, all of them must concur in every instrument, surrender or discharge relating to the land, lease or mortgage.
This decision will also have to be carefully applied and followed by individuals and entities concluding property transactions with holders of letters of administration. The panel hearing of the said appeal constituted of Katureebe CJ Emeritus; Arach Amoko; Tibatemwa; Mugamba; and Buteera JJSC.