This paper re-examines the basis of the common law rule that an unlawfully dismissed or terminated public servant cannot claim both reinstatement and general damages for mental stress in an action challenging the wrongful dismissal or termination. More than a century after the English House of Lords’ decision in Addis v Gramophone that an unlawfully dismissed or terminated servant cannot claim both reinstatement and general damages for mental stress in an action challenging the wrongful dismissal or termination, the debate still rages. Lord Collins dissenting view in Addis’ case has now resonated in statute, not only in Nigeria but in some other commonwealth countries that inherited the common law tradition from Britain. This paper argues that the common law rule established in the case is anachronistic, no longer valid nor sustainable, and calls for a jettisoning of the rule in favour of allowing both reinstatement and general damages for psychological injuries in deserving cases. Section 8 of Nigeria’s Employees’ Compensation Act provides a basis for such reform.
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Subsequently, in this paper “Supreme Court” refers to the Supreme Court of Nigeria unless otherwise indicated. Case citations are also from Nigerian case law unless otherwise noted.
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Ogbuabor, C.A., Obi-Ochiabutor, C.C., Ukwueze, F.O. et al. Revisiting the Right to Compensation for Mental Stress Apart from Reinstatement in Cases of Unlawful Dismissal in Nigeria. Psychol. Inj. and Law 15, 330–340 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12207-022-09463-z
- Unlawful dismissal
- Unlawful termination
- Damages for wrongful dismissal
- Reinstatement and general damages for mental stress
- General damages
- Compensation for mental stress
- Mental stress claims
- Public law
- Common law