Comfort Ogunkoya & Ors V. J. E. Peter (1954)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Damages—Onus on plaintiff to furnish facts in case under Fatal Accidents Act.
Appeals in Civil Cases—Damages—Test of intervention on appeal.
NOTE on Appeal No. 206/1953.
In a claim for damages under the Fatal Accidents Act the plaintiff must furnish evidence to warrant the award of damages, and facts besides for a basis of assessment.
The Court of Appeal will not intervene as to the amount of damages awarded in any suit unless the trial Court acted on a wrong principle of law or the amount was so high or so low as to make it an entirely erroneous estimate.
Foster-Sutton, P. This was a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act, commonly called Lord Campbell’s Act, by which the four plaintiffs claimed on behalf of themselves and their ten children damages in respect of pecuniary loss alleged to have been suffered by reason of the death through the defendant’s negligence, of their husband, and father of their children.
The learned trial Judge awarded the sum of /50 to each of the four plaintiffs and £75 in respect of each of the ten children, and declined to award any amount in respect of funeral expenses.
Counsel for the appellants has urged that the damages awarded in each case
is far too small and an entirely erroneous estimate.
The Court has repeatedly held, following the practice of the Court of Appeal in England, that it will not interfere with the finding of the trial Judge as to the amount of damages unless we are satisfied that the trial Judge acted on a wrong principle of law or the amount awarded is so high or so low as to make it an entirely erroneous estimate of the damages to which the claimants were entitled.
In this case we are quite unable to hold that the trial Judge did err in the manner
There was no evidence to shew what contribution, if any, the deceased was
making to each of the claimants or their children, beyond a bare assertion that he was supporting them. In these circumstances there is no basis upon which we could arrive at the conclusion contended for by appellants’ counsel.
There was no evidence before the Court below that any of the plaintiffs were liable for, or that they paid, any funeral expenses and we are, therefore, of the opinion that the trial Judge was right in not awarding any damages in respect of this item.
The question as to whether or not the Fatal Accidents Acts applies in Nigeria has not been argued before us, and we, therefore, express no opinion on the matter. For the reasons given this appeal must be dismissed with costs fixed at £15 15s. Od.
de Comarmond, Ag. C.J., Nigeria. I concur.
Coutsey, J.A. I concur.