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DAMAGES ARE ALWAYS IN ISSUE

Dictum

Damages are always in issue and so failure to deny them is not fatal: Re The Nigerian Produce Marketing Board v. Adewunmi (1972) 11 S.C. 111.

— Edozie, JCA. British American v. Ekeoma & Anor. (1994) – CA/E/60/88

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DAMAGES FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT IS BASED ON RESTITUTIO IN INTEGRUM

In awarding damages in an action founded on breach of contract, the rule to be applied is restitutio in integrum that is, in so far as the damages are not too remote, the plaintiff shall be restored as far as money can do it, to the position in which he would have been if the breach had not occurred.

– ADEKEYE, J.S.C. Cameroon v. Otutuizu (2011) – SC.217/2004

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DAMAGES IN BUILDING CONTRACT

In Mertens v. Home Freeholds Company (1921),2 K.B. 526, where the Court approved the law on this point as stated in an earlier edition of Hudson. In that case the contractor had undertaken to build to the roofing and the Court held:- The proper measure of damages was what it cost the plaintiff to complete the house substantially as it was originally intended and in a reasonable manner at the earliest moment he was allowed to proceed with the work, less any amount which would have been due and payable by the defendant to the plaintiff, had the defendant completed the house to the roofing at the time agreed by the terms of the contract.

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TRESPASS: SPECIAL VS GENERAL DAMAGES

In an action for damages for special damages for trespass, special dam-ages must be pleaded and strictly proved, the value pleaded being normally a reflection of the prevailing market prices. The vital difference between a claim for compensation under the Land Use Act and compensation in trespass Is that general damages is only claimable in trespass.

— Obaseki, JSC. Foreign Finance Corp. v Lagos State Devt. & Pty. Corp. & Ors. (1991) – SC. 9/1988

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DAMAGES – DAMAGES FOLLOW EVENT

Damages are the sum of money which a person who has been wronged is entitled to receive from the wrong doer as compensation for loss or injury, hence, no loss or injury, no award of damages. It is clear that the award of damages follows events. See, MUSTAPHA v. ABUBAKAR & ORS. (2022) LPELR 41830 (CA), FBN v. OJO (2022) LPELR-57503 (CA), KEYSTONE BANK LTD. v. ABDULGAFARU YUSUF & CO. LTD (2021) LPELR-55646 (CA), CRC CREDIT BUREAU LTD v. LONGTERM GLOBAL CAPITAL LTD & ANOR (2021) LPELR 55574 (CA), MRS OLUFUMILAYO ESTHER & ANOR v. TOPNOTCH PROPERTIES LIMITED (2017).

— A.O. Obaseki-Adejumo, JCA. FRSC v Ehikaam (2023) – CA/AS/276/2019

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DAMAGES FOR SUFFERING, PAIN, ANXIETY SHOULD BE ASSESSED ON REASONABLE BASIS

Sellers, L. J. in Wise v. Kaye (1962) 1 All ER 257 and which states thus: “It has always been accepted that physical injury and the personal experience of pain, and also of suffering, including worry and anxiety for the future and apprehension of an operation, or of nursing or deprivation of activity owing to disablement or embarrassment or limitation felt by reason of disfigurement, cannot in any true sense be measured in money… Damages for such injuries, originally almost invariably assessed by juries, were said to be ‘at large’, and had to be assessed on a reasonable and fair basis between party and party. There can be no restitution for the loss of a limb or loss of faculty but the law requires adequate compensation to be assessed.”

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WHAT IS DAMAGES? SPECIAL AND GENERAL

What then is damages generally? Damages are money claimed by or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury. In other words, damages are the sum of money which a person wronged is entitled to receive from the wrongdoer as compensation for the wrong. General damages are damages that the law presumes follow, from the type of wrong complained of and do not need to be specifically claimed. While special damages are damages that are alleged to have been sustained in the circumstances of a particular wrong. To be awardable, special damages must be specifically claimed and proved.

– ARIWOOLA J.S.C. Union Bank v. Chimaeze (2014)

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