Francisco Canfailla V. Najib Joseph Chahin (1939)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Breach of Contract–Illegal contracts unenforceable—Accra Building
The plaintiff agreed with the defendant to construct a new building on the
defendant’s land for £1,675. The specifications given in the contract differed materially from those fixed by the Building Permit held by the defendant. The learned trial Judge held that the plaintiff was entitled to recover damages for breach of contract and rejected the contention that the contract was illegal on the ground of public policy and therefore unenforceable. He held that, since the specifications given in the contract were at variance with the terms of the Building Permit, the plaintiff would have been compelled to erect a building in accordance with the terms of that Permit and that the extra expense would have fallen on him.
That a contract to erect a building contravening the provisions of a legal enactment was illegal and could not be enforced.
Held Further : That as the action was framed for damages for breach of contract the plaintiff could not recover for work and labour on the demolition of the old building on the site and that the writ could not be amended at that stage.
Appeal allowed ; judgment of Court below set aside and judgment entered for defendant with costs.
The court below to carry out.