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SEP 2020 NEWS SAMUEL TSADO, JOSHUA ABE AND INNOCENT EKPEN

It is elementary law that parties are bound by the provisions of the contract or agreement which they have voluntarily entered. This typifies the doctrine of the sanctity of the contract. Consequently, the court is bound to construe only the terms of the contract in the event of an action arising therefrom. This is because the Court is not allowed to rewrite the contract for the parties by relying on any extraneous document or materials which the parties have not incorporated into their contract.

In specific reference to a contract of employment in an ordinary master and servant relationship, the age-long principle of law in Nigeria is that the terms of the contract form the bedrock of any case where the issue of wrongful termination of employment is for determination. Therefore, in the determination of the right of an employer to bring the employment contract to an end, the terms and conditions of the contract are the paramount consideration as the Court is not allowed to look elsewhere in deciding whether the contract was properly terminated. However, in exceptional cases, mandatory provisions of Statutes may interfere with the agreement of the parties and be deemed to form part of the terms of the contract by force of law.

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