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Supreme Court Act, 1959 (Act No. 59 of 1959)

21A. Powers of court of appeal in certain civil proceedings


(1) When at the hearing of any civil appeal to the Appellate Division or any Provincial or Local Division of the Supreme Court the issues are of such a nature that the judgment or order sought will have no practical effect or result, the appeal may be dismissed on this ground alone.



(a) If at any time prior to the hearing of an appeal the Chief Justice or the Judge President, as the case may be, is prima facie of the view that it would be appropriate to dismiss the appeal on the grounds set out in subsection (1), he or she shall call for written representations from the respective parties as to why the appeal should not be so dismissed.
(b) Upon receipt of the written representations or, failing which, at the expiry of the time determined for their lodging, the matter shall be referred by the Chief Justice or by the Judge President, as the case may be, to three judges of the Division concerned for their consideration.
(c) The judges considering the matter may order that the question whether the appeal should be dismissed on the grounds set out in subsection (1) be argued before them at a place and time appointed, and may, whether or not they have so ordered—
(i) order that the appeal be dismissed, with or without an order as to the costs incurred in any of the courts below or in respect of the costs of appeal, including the costs in respect of the preparation and lodging of the written representations; or
(ii) order that the appeal proceed in the ordinary course.


(3) Save under exceptional circumstances, the question whether the judgment or order would have no practical effect or result, is to be determined without reference to consideration of costs.


(4) The provisions of subsections (2) and (3) shall apply with the necessary changes if a petition referred to in section 21 (3) is considered.