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DRAFTING MAJOR COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS INVOLVING A STATE

Dictum

585. It was a complete imbalance in the contributions of the parties that enabled the GSPA to be in the form it was. Many reading this judgment will recognise that, although in the present case bribery and corruption were behind that imbalance, it happens in other cases without bribery and corruption but simply where experience, expertise or resources are grossly unequal. This underlines the importance of professional standards and ethics in the work of contract drafting, including in the approach to other parties to the proposed contract. It is why some contributions of pro bono work by leading law firms to support some states challenged for resources (this is not to say, one way or the other, that Nigeria is one of those) is so valuable, in the interests of their, often vulnerable, people. In the present case there were other contracts too, with different counterparties. Their terms and circumstances are not identical, but the overall risk could have been a multiple of the US$11 billion now involved in the present case.

— R. Knowles CBE. FRN v. Process & Industrial Developments Limited [2023] EWHC 2638 (Comm)

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COURT DOES NOT CONDUCT BARGAIN FOR PARTIES

The appellant having failed to name a price for his ‘injury’ as a solatium, he cannot expect from the court, unsolicited, any succour as the business of this court or of any court for that matter does not include conducting bargain on behalf of any party. – Olagunju JCA. Ofodile v. COP (2000) Was this...

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WHEN TERMS OF CONTRACT ARE CLEAR, INTERPRETATION IS NEGLIGIBLE

In the construction of a contract, the meaning to be placed on it is that which is the plain, clear and obvious result of the terms used. A contract or document is to be construed in its ordinary meaning, When the language of a contract is not only plain but admits of one meaning, the...

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WHERE CONTRACTUAL NEW TERM CAN BE INTRODUCED

Where parties enter into an agreement and subsequently decide to introduce new terms, they can only do so by specific reference to the earlier agreement to the effect that the later agreement has introduced new terms thereof. – Niki Tobi JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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PARTIES BOUND BY CONTRACTUAL TERMS IN ABSENCE OF FRAUD

The well laid down position of the law is that Courts do not rewrite contact for the parties where the terms of the contract are clear. In the absence of fraud, duress and undue influence, misrepresentation, the parties are bound by their contract. It is only parties to a contract that can sue and be...

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