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SPECIAL DAMAGES VS GENERAL DAMAGES

Dictum

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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APPELLATE COURT WILL NOT DISTURB DAMAGES OF LOWER COURT SIMPLY BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE AWARDED A DIFFERENT FIGURE

Although an appellate Court admittedly can disturb an award of damages if such award is excessively high or unreasonably low, it is settled that a Court of Appeal will not disturb an award of damages made by the lower Court merely because it would have come to a different figure if it had heard the case itself. See Per NNAMANI, JSC in DUYILE & ANOR V. KELLY OGUNBAYO & SONS LTD (1988) LPELR-975(SC) (P. 17, PARAS. D-G).

— U.M. Abba Aji, JSC. Cappa v NDIC (2021) – SC.147/2006

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PERSON CLAIMING DAMAGES SHOULD PROVE HE IS ENTITLED TO DAMAGES UNDER THAT HEAD

It is trite and well settled as rightly argued by the said counsel that:- the person claiming should establish his entitlement to that type of damages by credible evidence of such a character as would suggest that he indeed is entitled to an award under that head… See the cases of Oladehin v. Continental ile Mills Ltd (1978) NSCC, page 88 and also Imana v. Robinson (1979) NSCC page 1.

— C.B. Ogunbiyi, JSC. Ibrahim v. Obaje (2017) – SC.60/2006

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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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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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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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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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