Laws Governing Contracts in Nigeria

Laws Governing Contracts in Nigeria: A Comprehensive Guide

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties, outlining the terms and conditions of a transaction. In Nigeria, the law governing contracts is based on common law principles and statutory provisions. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the laws governing contracts in Nigeria.

Common Law Principles

The guiding principles of contract law in Nigeria are derived from common law. This entails certain basic elements that determine if a contract is legally binding or not. These principles include:

Offer and acceptance: A contract must involve an offer from one party and an acceptance from the other party.

Consideration: A contract must involve an exchange of something of value, such as money or services.

Intention to create legal relations: The parties to the contract must have the intention to create a legally binding agreement.

Capacity to contract: The parties to the contract must have the legal capacity to enter into a contract.

Statutory Provisions

In addition to the common law principles, Nigeria has statutory provisions that regulate contracts. The most important of these are:

The Sale of Goods Act: This act regulates the sale of goods, including warranties and conditions of sale.

The Contracts Act: This act provides for the formation, interpretation, and enforcement of contracts.

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act: This act provides for the settlement of disputes arising from contracts through arbitration or conciliation.

The Companies and Allied Matters Act: This act regulates the formation and operation of companies, including contracts entered into by companies.

The Nigerian Constitution: The Constitution provides for the protection of contractual rights and freedoms, including the right to property.

Enforcing Contracts

When a contract is breached, the aggrieved party has the right to seek legal redress in court. The Nigerian court system has both federal and state courts, each with its own jurisdictional limits. In contract disputes, the parties may either sue for damages or seek specific performance.


Contracts are an integral part of business transactions in Nigeria. Knowledge of the laws governing contracts is essential for individuals and businesses to protect their interests in any contractual agreement. By understanding the basic elements of contract law and statutory provisions, parties can ensure that their contracts are legally binding and enforceable in a court of law.

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