IT IS MORALLY DESPICABLE FOR A PERSON WHO HAS BENEFITED FROM AN AGREEMENT TO TURN ROUND AND SAY THAT THE AGREEMENT IS NULL AND VOID

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CASE TITLE: HOTEL & CATERING SERVICES LTD v. UNCLE T. FURNITURE CO. (NIG) & ANOR (2018) LPELR-45887(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 1ST NOVEMBER, 2018

PRACTICE AREA: CONTRACT

LEAD JUDGMENT: JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT

INTRODUCTION:

This appeal borders on Law of Contract.

FACTS:

This is an appeal against the Judgment of the High Court of Benue State, Makurdi.

The 1st Respondent was contracted to make and service furniture in the Appellant Hotels at Makurdi and Abraka in the period between the years 2006 to 2008. The various contracts were executed through the 2nd Respondent and the Appellant took delivery of the finished products. Thereafter, the Respondents claimed that they were owed payments for the outstanding contract sum of N651, 480.00.
The Appellant on her part denied owing the Respondents any sum at all on ground that the quality of the jobs executed by the 2nd Respondent and the level of his honesty to the Appellant had fallen below the standard expected of the 2nd Respondent. The Appellant also contended that the 2nd Respondent had cheated her by using substandard and cheap wood for the jobs executed and yet charged high rates above the prevailing market prices. She also accused the 2nd Respondent of using her own materials for the jobs and still charged the Appellant for them.

The claim of the Respondents before that Court was for a declaration that they were entitled to be paid the sum of N651, 480.00k being money owed them by the Appellant, as charges for services rendered, an order for payment of the said sum, plus 10 per cent interest on the Judgment debt from Judgment until the debt is liquidated. Appellant filed a statement of defence and counterclaim.
After trial and address of counsel, the trial Court found in favour of the respondents in the reduced sum of N372, 480.00, while the appellant’s counterclaim was dismissed outright. Aggrieved, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION:

The issues for determination, as distilled by the respondent and modified by the Court of Appeal, are:

“1. Whether the Respondents established their claim as well as the juristic personality of the 1st Respondent to warrant the award of Judgment in their favour?

  1. Whether the Appellant was entitled to the reliefs sought for in her counterclaim?”

DECISION/HELD:

In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed.

RATIOS:

  • CONTRACT- ILLEGAL/VOID CONTRACT: Whether a party who has benefitted from a contract can resile from his obligation under such contract on the pretext of illegality
  • EVIDENCE- PROOF: Importance of a certificate of incorporation in establishing the legal status of a company

lawpavilion • November 15, 2018


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