Special Damages

Uganda Telecom Ltd v Tanzanite Corporation (Civil Appeal No.17 of 2004 ) ((Civil Appeal No.17 of 2004 )) [2005] UGSC 9 (23 June 2005);


Headnote and Holding: 

The matter involved a dispute as to whether there was a contract and in effect breach of contract.

The main issue before the court was whether there was a contract for sale of goods and in consequence whether there was breach. Citing trite law that there is no contract if there is no agreement on the essential terms of contract, the court established that the alleged contract did not mention the amounts allegedly guaranteed whilst the demand for payment itself was not linked to the telephone transactions. The court considered the definition of a proforma invoice and concluded the alleged contract was part of negotiations and was therefore an offer to treat. As there was no indication of agreement on the essential terms, there was therefore no contract and consequently no breach of contract.

In obiter, the court also dealt with the question whether special damages were rightfully awarded by the court a quo. Acknowledging special damages as damage in fact caused by wrong and the claim requirements for specificity of pleading and proof, the court concluded that the award of special damages was inconsistent as liability could not be imported on a non-existent contract.

The court thus concluded in favor of the appellant and allowed the appeal.


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