General Damages

The Commodity House Limited v Sugar and Allied Industries Limited (CIVIL SUIT NO 614 OF 2015) [2017] UGCOMMC 25 (13 March 2017);


Headnote and Holding: 

The plaintiff brought an action for breach of contract, for the defendant to pay the balance of the money paid by the plaintiff to the defendant in terms of their contract, and for interest on the amount.

The sourt held that on the evidence the defendant failed to deliver all the sugar within the seven weeks. The defendants did not adduce any evidence to the contrary, and the plaintiff was entitled to refund of the money paid for the sugar. The issue was whether general damages ought to be awarded in addition to interest on the outstanding amount.

Section 50 of the Sale of Goods Act provided that the remedy for wrongful non-delivery was damages. The measure was the estimated loss directly and naturally resulting in the ordinary course of events from the seller’s breach of contract. General damages will usually be awarded to place the plaintiff in as close a position as possible they would have been had the injury not occurred. Where interest is awarded for deprivation of monies to be paid, then general damages will not be awarded in addition to interest. The award of interest would place the plaintiff in its original position. 

The court held that the plaintiff did not adduce evidence of what loss was suffered to warrant an award of general damages. Interest was therefore awarded in lieu of general damages. 


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