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SUCCEEDING IN A BREACH OF CONTRACT

Dictum

For a claimant to succeed in an action for breach of contract, he must establish not only that there was a breach but also that there was in existence an enforceable contract which was breached.

— Adekeye, JSC. Best Ltd. v. Blackwood Hodge (2011) – SC

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A DIVISIBLE CONTRACT

A divisible contract is separable into parts, so that separate parts of the agreed consideration may be assigned to severable parts of the performance. Such divisible agreements admit of pro rata payments for each portion that was performed, and is independent of performance of other parts of the contract.

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

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FAILURE TO PERFORM WITHIN TIME IS BREACH OF CONTRACT

Finally the law is that time is of essence where the parties have expressly made it so, or where circumstances show that it is intended to be of essence or where a definite time is fixed for execution of a mercantile and the contract even though time is not expressly made of the essence, thus failure to perform the contract within the limit will constitute a breach. Performance must be rendered within a reasonable in the absence of any specification as to time in the contract itself.

– Adekeye JSC. Nwaolisah v. Nwabufoh (2011)

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COURT SHOULD TREAT AS SACROSANCT TERMS OF AGREEMENT BY PARTIES

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

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CONTRACT OF SERVICE AT COMMON LAW VS IN STATUTORY FLAVOUR

It is important to recognise the distinction between a contract of personal service and a contract of service. There is also the distinction between a contract of service at common law, and a contract with statutory favour. Whereas at common law a contract of personal service is determinable by the master at will without cause a contract of service is determinable by the master on reasonable notice or on the notice stipulated in the contract of the parties. A strict compliance with the statutory requirements for determination is required in contracts re-enforced by Statute or created by statute.

— A.G. Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Olaniyan & Ors. v. University of Lagos (1985) – SC.53/1985

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SUCCEEDING IN BREACH OF CONTRACT

In BEST NIGERIA LTD. v. BLACKWOOD HODGE NIGERIA LTD. (2011) LPELR-776(SC) (P.42, Paras.D-E) Per Adekeye, J.S.C. thus: “For a claimant to succeed in an action for breach of contract, he must establish not only that there was a breach but also that there was in existence an enforceable contract which was breached.”

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COURT CANNOT IMPOSE CONTRACT ON A PARTIES

The relationship between the parties in this case is well-scripted, known and appreciated by them. The Court cannot write or rewrite any agreement for the parties. The parties to any transaction usually have their positions which they bring to their table of negotiation. When they are done with their negotiations, they now have their terms well-crafted to govern the transaction they enter into. The parties and no other are responsible for their terms of engagement. No Court has the power to script or foist on the parties terms which are strange to their agreement. Parties are bound by the terms of their contract.

— S.J. Adah, JCA. Luck Guard v. Adariku (2022) – CA/A/1061/2020

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