THE TORT OF NEGLIGENCE UNDER NIGERIA LAW

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THE TORT OF NEGLIGENCE UNDER NIGERIA LAW

Abstract:

In Nigeria, the period immediately after independence to date has witnessed tremendous upsurge in commercial and i n d u s t r i a l developments. The number of t r a f f i c s on our Roads also kept increasing day in day out. All these achievements are not without t h e i r negative aspects. For example, in the industrial rector, there are the hazards of people getting maimed or incapacitated for l i f e if care is not taken in ensuring the safety of t h e i r places of work because of the dangercue nature of the machines normally i n s t a l l e d for used in such places and atimes even the nature of the place I t s e l f. In the area of business transsctioncspecially between companies and companies, between companies and individuals or between individuals intense the exercise of duetcare and deligence is also very relevant otherwise financial or economic loss may be sustained by one of the parties to such transactions. Thus, for example where two parties sffree that all documents, drafts, b i l l s of lidding turn invoices in connection to a certain business transaction between them are to be drawn in favour of one of them but the other party negligently and in breach of the agreement directed that such documents should be drawn in favour of a different person,then the affected party is e n t i t l e to i n s t i t u t e an action to claim damages for the loss suffered as a r e s u lt of the negligent act of the other party. Again there are instances when some one w i l l , before embarking on any business transaction or before concluding any agreement with any one with regsrd to any business, f i r s t of all aeek the advise of people whom he believe have enough experience in such business or are professionals (such as lawyers) on haw to go about the business or on what needed to be done before the agreement la concluded. Here too, proper care must be exercised in offering such advise inorder that the seeker of the advise does not sustain l o s s . Similarly, large number of cars that ply our orads day end night entail great danger to human l i f e if proper care is not taken in t h e ir management on the roads. Infect there la hardly any human a c t i v i t y today that does not require the exercise of care and dellgence in i t s performance. The choice of t h i s topic i . e . ‘the tort of negligence under Nigerian Law1 la therefore predicated upon the above brief analysis, since negligence is the product of lack of the exercise of care or dellgence in the performance of % c e r t a i n thing. And the objective of the research is that of making i t ‘ s resders aware of their rights concerning any harm or loss they may sustained as a result of someones lack of the exercise of care and also for them to know the possible defences their opponents amy raise in denial of t h e i r claims so that they will know how to take care of them. The research alao seta out to investigate the applic a b i l i t y or otherwise of the imported English Common Laws in Nigeria. The work is divided into five chapters. In chapter shall one, we shall discuss the duty of care. Here, we/strive towards revealing when someone is under a duty to exercise due care and deligence towards others and the consequences of ones failure to exercise such duty. Sub-topics such resenable foreseability, duty of care and financial and economic loss, negligent misstatement and financial or economic loss and nervous shock. In chapter two we shall be discussing by way of i l l u s t r a t i o n s certain persons and organisations that owe duty of care to others in the conduct of their affairs or in the course of their operations. We shall in particulardiscuss Lawyers, Doctors and Bankers as our i l l u s t r a t i o n s. We shall end the discussion in the chapter by discussing the standard of care to be exhibited by persons especially with regard to the kind of activity undertaken, the type of person involved, the difficulty or otherwise in bringing the situation under control and whether the person from whom the duty is required to be exercised is a professional or not. Chapter three of the work shall deal with remoteness of damages. Under this chapter we shall be discussing instances when even though a person is negligent with regard to performance or non performance of a certain duty or function, yet his i n a b i l i t y is not the fundamental cause of loss or injury sustained by the complinant. Two principal t e s t of remoteness of damages viz the direct consequences t e s t and the foresenbility t e s t shall be our main sub-topics in t h i s chapter. Under them we shall also discuss the egg-shell skull r u l e , extent of harm rule, to the extraneous matters rule, manner of occurrence of damage and the type of harm respectively. Chapter four of the work shall be aentred on the principal defences to l i a b i l i t y in negligence. This include contributory negligence, volenti non f i t injuria, inevitable accident and limitation of action. Finally, in the concluding chapter, i . e . chapter five, a summary of the whole work shall be made, observations concerning the adequacy or otherwise of the law or i t ‘s implementation shall also be made and based on our observation Appropriate suggestions or recommendations shall be made on how to improve the law or how best to implement it.

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