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INSTANCES WHEN APPEAL COURT WILL INTERFERE WITH DAMAGES GRANTED BY TRIAL COURT

Dictum

The appellant’s learned senior counsel had submitted that it had shown reasons for this Court to interfere with the award of damages. An appellate Court does not usually interfere with award of damages unless: (a) the trial Court acted under a mistake of law; or (b) where the trial Court acted in disregard of some principles of law: or (c) where the trial Court acted under misapprehension of facts; or (d) where it has taken into account irrelevant matters or failed to take into account relevant matters; or (e) where injustice would result if the appellate Court does not interfere; or (f) where the amount awarded is ridiculously low or high that it must have been a wholly erroneous estimate of the damages, see SPDCN v. Tiebo VII (supra); Cameroon Airlines v. Otutuizu (supra); British Airways v. Atoyebi (2014) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1424) 253; Agu v. General Oil Ltd. (2015) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1488) 327.

— O.F. Ogbuinya JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v. Longterm Global Cap. Ltd. & Ors. (September 20 2021, ca/l/1093/2017)

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JUDGES SHOULD SET OUT HOW THEY ARRIVE AT QUANTUM OF DAMAGES

The quantum of damages does not now arise for consideration. We would only point out that the Judge did not record a finding as to the extent of the annual financial loss suffered by those whom he held to have been dependants of the deceased woman, or say how he arrived at the total sum awarded. It Is easier for an appeal court to decide whether the damages awarded can be upheld H it knows how they were assessed, and we hope that in cases of this kind judges will set out the reasoning by which they arrive at their final estimates.

— Brett JSC. Benson v. Ashiru (1967) – SC. 405/1965

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AWARD OF DAMAGES IS DUTY OF TRIAL COURT – WHERE SUCH WILL BE INTERFERED IN

I have to commence my reasoning in this issue by laying emphasis on the notorious fact that the award of damages is essentially the duty of a trial court and will not be interfered with except unless certain circumstances exist:- a. Where the trial court acted under a misapprehension of facts or law b. where it failed to take into account relevant matter c. Where the amount awarded is too low or too high d. where failure to interfere would amount to injustice.

– Adekeye JSC. Harka v. Keazor (2011) – SC.262/2005

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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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ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES IN BREACH OF CONTRACT

[A]s far back as 1854 in the case of Hadley v. Baxendale (1854) 9 Ex (Ch. 341, where at p. 354 of the Report, Alderson, B. expressed the law as follows: “Now we think the proper rule in such a case as the present is this: Where two parties have made a contract which one of them has broken, the damages which the other party ought to receive in respect of such a breach of contract should be such as may fairly and reasonably be considered either arising naturally, according to the usual course of things, from such breach of contract itself, or such as may reasonably be supposed to have been in the contemplation of both parties, at the time they made the contract, as the probable result of the breach of it.”

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SPECIAL DAMAGES VS GENERAL DAMAGES

It is no longer a matter for contention that the principle in regard to the assessment and award of special damages is different from that of general damages: see Ijebu-Ode Local Govemment v.Adedeji Balogun & Co (1991) 1NWLR(Pt.166) 136 at p. 158; Eseigbe v.Agholor (1993) 9 NWLR (Pt.316) 128 at p. 145. In the former, damages are specially pleaded, strictly proved and accordingly awarded; in the latter, they are averred, if necessary under specific heads of claim, presumed in law to be the direct and natural consequence of the act complained of and awarded at large as a jury question.

— Uwaifo, JSC. Rockonoh v. NTP (2001) – SC.71/1995

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WHEN APPELLATE COURT WILL INTERFERE IN DAMAGES AWARDED

An award of damages is within the discretionary powers of the court. An appellate court would not usually interfere with a previous award unless satisfied (a) that the trial court acted under a mistake of law; or (b) where the trial court acted in disregard of some principle of law; or (c) where it acted under a misapprehension of facts; or (d) where it has taken into account irrelevant matters or failed to take into account relevant matters; or (e) where injustice would result if the appellate court does not interfere; or (f) where the amount awarded is either ridiculously low or ridiculously high that it must have been a wholly erroneous estimate of the damage.

– Kekere-Ekun JSC. British v. Atoyebi (2014) – SC.332/2010

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