Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

COURT SHOULD TREAT AS SACROSANCT TERMS OF AGREEMENT BY PARTIES

Dictum

It must be reiterated here that the court must treat as sacrosanct the terms of an agreement freely entered into by the parties. This is because parties to a contract enjoy their freedom to contact on their own terms so long as same is lawful. The terms of a contract between parties are clothed with some degree of sanctity and if any question should arise with regard to the contract, the terms in any document which constitute the contract are invariably the guide to its interpretation when parties enter into a contract, they are bound by the terms of the contract as set out by them. It is not the business of the court to rewrite a contract for the parties. See Afrotech Services Nig Ltd. v. M.A. & Sons Ltd. (2002) 15 NWLR (pt. 692) 730 at 788.

— J.A. Fabiyi, JSC. BFI v. Bureau PE (2012) – SC.12/2008

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

COURTS DO NOT MAKE CONTRACT FOR THE PARTIES

It is not the function of the court to make contracts between the parties. The courts duty is to construe the surrounding circumstances including written or oral statements so as attest the intention of the parties. Where the correspondence exchanged between the parties are read together, it can be assumed that the parties have come to an agreement.

– Adekeye JSC. Nwaolisah v. Nwabufoh (2011)

Was this dictum helpful?

REPUDIATION OF CONTRACT CANNOT BE DONE BY ONE PARTY ALONE

Contracts are made by parties and the Court interprets same. Repudiation of contract cannot be done by one party, see ADENIYI VS GOVERNING COUNCIL OF YABA TECH (1993) LPELR-128(SC) held thus; “But repudiation by one party standing alone does not terminate the contract. It takes two to end it, by repudiation on the one side, and acceptance of the repudiation on the other.”

— Nimpar, JCA. Ekpo v GTB (2018) – CA/C/324/2013

Was this dictum helpful?

ONLY WHERE THERE IS A CONSENSUS AD IDEM THERE IS A CONTRACT

It is trite that a valid contract can exist only when there is a “consensus ad idem” i.e., when there is a meeting of mind of the parties showing that the parties are bound by a specific term. This meeting of mind is, expressed in the form of “an offer” and “an acceptance” of that offer. It is only where they exist that there is a valid contract.

– Amaizu, J.C.A. Adeniran v. Olagunju (2001)

Was this dictum helpful?

CONSTITUTING A BINDING CONTRACT: OFFER, ACCEPTANCE, CONSENSUS AD IDEM

In law, to constitute a binding contract between parties, there must be a meeting of the mind often referred to as consensus ad idem. The mutual consent relates to offer and acceptance. While an offer is the expression by a party of readiness to contract on the terms specified by him by which if accepted by the offeree gives rise to a binding contract, the offer only matures into a contract where the offeree signifies a clear and unequivocal intention to accept the offer. An offer can be accepted in such a manner as may be implied, such as doing an act which the person expecting acceptance wants done. On the other hand, an invitation to treat is simply the first step in negotiations between the parties to a contract. It may or may not lead to a definite offer being made by one of the parties to the other in the negotiation. In law therefore, an invitation to treat is thus not an agreement or contract. See Meka BAB Manufacturing Co. Ltd v. ACB Ltd (2004) 2 NWLR (PT. 858) 521. See also Unitab Nigeria Ltd v. Engr. Oyelola and Anor (2005) All FWLR (Pt. 286) 824 @ pp. 829-830; Okugbule and Anor v. Oyegbola and Ors (1990) 4 NWLR (pt. 147) 723; See also Afolabi v. Polymera Industries Ltd (1967) 1 All NLR 144; Nneji v. Zakhem Construction Nig. Ltd (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 994) 297; BFI Group Corporation v. Bureau of Public Enterprises (2012) LPELR-9339 (SC).

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

Was this dictum helpful?

PARTY LIABLE OF A FUNDAMENTAL TERM WILL NOT BE GRANTED RELIEF IN EXCLUSION CLAUSES

It is settled from a number of decisions that a party in breach of a fundamental term of his contract with a third party will not be allowed to benefit from or resort to exclusion clauses: PINNOCK BROTHERS v. LEWIS & PEAT LTD (1956) 2 ALL E.R. 866; ADEL BOSHALLI v. ALLIED COMMERCIAL EXPORTERS LTD (1961) ALL NLR 917 at 922; OWNERS OF NV GONGOLA HOPE v. S.C. (NIG). LTD. The rationale for the principle is that a party who is guilty of breach of a fundamental term of contract could/should not benefit from his own wrong doing by resorting to exclusionary clauses in order to limit his liability. This is moreso, when a contract of carriage by air is brazenly breached and no explanation is offered, as in the instant case. In which case there is a total failure of consideration and the central purpose or essence of the contract has wholly disappeared.

– Ejembi Eko, J.S.C. Mekwunye v. Emirates (2018) – SC.488/2014

Was this dictum helpful?

THE ILLEGAL PART OF A CONTRACT CAN BE SEVERED FROM THE OTHER LEGAL PART

This is because it is a recognized principle of law that a contract will rarely be totally illegal or void: certain parts may be entirely lawful in themselves, while others are valid. Where the illegal or void parts can be “severed” from the rest of the contract on the well-known principles of severance such will be done and the rest of the contract enforced without the void part. It is permissible for courts to adopt this course where the objectionable part of the contract involves merely a void step or promise and is not fundamental, and it is possible to simply strike down the offending part without re-writing or remaking the contract for the parties and without altering the scope and intention of the agreement; and lastly, the contract, shorn of the offending parts, retains the characteristics of a valid contract. See on these Vol. 9 Hals. Laws of England (4th Edn.) p.297 in paragraph 430. See also Commercial Plastics Ltd. v. Vincent (1964) 3 All E.R. 546, C.A.

— Nnaemeka-Agu, JSC. Adesanya v Otuewu (1993) – SC.217/1989

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.