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SPECIAL DAMAGES WILL BE UPHELD UPON EVIDENCE ADDUCED AND NOT CHALLENGED

Dictum

On special damages, it has been held that where the plaintiff plead the special damages and gives necessary particulars and adduce some evidence of it without the defendant challenging or contradicting the evidence, he has discharged the onus of proof placed on him and unless the evidence adduced is of such a quality that no reasonable tribunal can accept, it ought to be accepted. The reason is that where evidence called by the plaintiff in a civil case is neither challenged nor contradicted, his onus of proof is discharged on a minimal of proof.

– ARIWOOLA J.S.C. Union Bank v. Chimaeze (2014)

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NOT FUNCTION OF THE COURT TO SUPPLY OMISSION

The main thrust of the appeal appears to be that if the original of the public document is lost or destroyed thereby rendering the making of a certified copy impracticable, it would be unjust not to admit other form of secondary evidence such as a photocopy of the original document. I share the plight of the appellant but it must be borne in mind that the duty of the court is to expound the law and not to expand it. It is not the function of the court to supply omissions in statutes and thereby embark on judicial legislation.

– Edozie, JSC. Araka v. Egbue (2003) – SC.167/1999

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CLAIMANT SHOULD ESTABLISH ENTITLEMENT TO SPECIAL DAMAGES

Whenever special damages are claimed, the party so claiming has an uphill task of a strict proof. In effect the rule requires anyone asking for special damages to prove strictly that he suffered such special damages as he claimed. Thus, the claimant should establish his entitlement to that type of damages by credible evidence of such character as would suggest that he is indeed entitled to an award under that head. The general law of evidence as to proof by preponderance in civil cases operates in discharging such burden of proof. The Respondent failed to prove special damages.

— H. Mukhtar, JCA. Aliyu v. Bulaki (2019) – CA/S/36/2018

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COURT TO DECIDE CASE ONLY ON LEGALLY ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE

Thus where a court wrongfully admits inadmissible evidence, it ought as a duty, to disregard the inadmissible evidence in the consideration of the judgment in the matter. Where such evidence has been wrongfully admitted and acted upon and whether or not the opposing party objects or not, an appellate court has the duty to exclude such evidence and decide the case only on the legally admissible evidence, see Timitimi v Amabebe (1953) 14 WACA 374; Ajayi v Fisher (1956) 1 FSC 90, (1956) SC NLR 279.

— Musdapher, JSC. Shittu & Ors. v Fashawe [2005] – SC 21/2001

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SPECIAL DAMAGES SUCCEEDS ONLY ON ACTUAL LOSS

It is indeed trite that a claim for special damages must not only be specifically pleaded item by item with corresponding monetary value of the claimed item, the items as particularized must further be proved by credible evidence for the Court to grant the claim. Where special damages have not been specifically pleaded and proved, same shall not be granted. It follows that a claim for special damages succeeds only in respect of actual and not estimated or anticipated loss or profit. See Dumez V. Ogboli (1972) 2 SC 45, Okunzua V. Amosu (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt. 248) 416 at 432 and Anyanwu V. Uzowuaka (2009) 13 NWLR (Pt 1159) 445.

— M.D. Muhammad, JSC. Union Bank v Nwankwo (2019) – SC.287/2006

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EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE CANNOT VARY A WRITTEN CONTRACT

The general rule is that where the parties have embodied the terms of their contract in a written document, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to add to, vary, subtract from or contradict the terms of the written instrument.

– Adio, JSC. UBN v. Ozigi (1994)

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COURT SHOULD NOT ACT ON INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE WHERE ADMITTED

In the case of Olukade v Alade (1976) 2 SC 183, this Court summarised the general rule on the effect of the admission of inadmissible evidence:- “A court is expected in all proceedings before it to admit and act only on evidence which is admissible in law (i.e. under the Evidence Act or any other law or enactment relevant in any particular case or matter) and so if the court should inadvertently admit inadmissible evidence it has the duty not to act upon it.”

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