General Damages

Atom Outdoor Ltd v Arrow Centre (U) Ltd ((High Court Civil Suit No. 488 of 2003)) [2004] UGCOMMC 42 (17 December 2004);


Headnote and Holding: 

This case involved an allegation that the defendant had not paid fully for services stipulated within an advertising agreement with the plaintiff. This case illustrates the importance interpreting the terms within a contract in line with what the parties to that contract had agreed.

The court held that the court’s duty is to interpret clause 4 of the contract in order to determine what the parties had agreed to. The court had regard to statements of English authority on the interpretation of commercial contracts. In particular, 
 that ‘[t]here must be ascribed to the words a meaning that would make good commercial sense … and not some meaning imposed … that no businessman in his right senses would be willing to incur.’ 

The court was satisfied that the according to the terms of the contract, the plaintiff as the ‘landlord’ had provided the defendant as the ‘advertiser’ space for advertising, and undertaken the contested printing activities for its benefit. The court held that the only sensible interpretation of the contract was that the cost of this printing was to be borne by the defendant because the alternative view would lead to a conclusion that ‘flouts common business sense’. 

The court ruled that the defendant was supposed to pay the 3.5 million Ugandan shillings for the printing.


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