Describe four remedies available to a plaintiff in a civil action
Remedies available to a plaintiff in a civil action.
(i) Committal to civil jail
This is a short jail term where the debtor has failed or refused to honour the decree.
The objective is to compel such person to retain his position and respect the court order.
(ii) Specific performance
This is a court order which compels the defendant to perform his part of the contract as agreed. It compels the defendant to fulfil his promise in accordance with the contract without an option to pay damages. It is an equitable remedy which manifests the maxim that equity acts in persona. The remedy may be availed where;
Monetary compensation is inadequate
- The subject matter is unique or has peculiar characteristics, such as land
- A contract is breached in anticipation.
This is a court order which either restrains a party from doing or continuing to do a particular thing or compels it to undo what it has wrongly done. An injunction may be:-
A prohibitory injunction restrains a party from doing or continuing to do a particular thing while a mandatory injunction on the other hand compels a party to put right what it has wrongly done. It is restorative in nature.
Injunctions are either
- Interim or temporal
- Perpetual or permanent.
A temporary injunction is an order issued by the court that is aimed at restraining an individual from continuing with the act pending the final determination by the court. For instance the court may restrain a media house from publishing a story until a case filed relating to the story is heard and determined.
A permanent Injunction is order issued by the court that permanently restrains a person from committing a certain wrongful act. For instance a person may be permanently restrained from trespassing into someone else land.
An injunction is an equitable remedy which may be granted in the following circumstances:-
- If money cannot adequately compensate the plaintiff
- If it is necessary to maintain the status quo i.e. maintaining things as they are.
For an injunction to be granted the applicant must establish that:
- He has a prima facie case with overwhelming chances of success
- If the remedy is not granted he will suffer irreparable injury.
The essence of this remedy is to restore the parties to the position they were before the contract. It is an equitable remedy whose award is discretional. The remedy may be availed whenever a contract is vitiated by misrepresentation.