This case deals with a question that, surprisingly, comes up too often in the High Court, namely, in what circumstances is a declaratory order competent relief. The frequency with which this question comes up is surprising because the courts have answered this question many times. The general principle is that courts are there to resolve legal disputes between parties. They are not there to decide hypothetical questions or to provide legal opinion to applicants on issues they are grappling with. This is what the Minister of Finance sought from the High Court in this case. He sought an order declaring that he (as Minister of Finance) has no power in law to interfere with banks in their relationships with their clients. This arose because a party whose bank accounts had been closed by numerous commercial banks had approached the Minister to intervene.

The Full Bench dismissed the Minister’s application for a declaratory order, observing that the Court does not provide legal advice to the parties and that Courts consider it inappropriate for any party to come to Court for the confirmation of a legal question which is common cause between the parties.

Read Full Judgement here