LEGAL NUGGETS (32):"OR" "AND".By Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji LL.M (M.IoD), FCAI.


"OR" "AND": The Meaning and uses of the words "or" "and"
"...the use of the word "OR" which has sometimes been used as "and" See Brown & Co. v. Harrison (1927) 43 TLR 394. For instance, MacKinnon, J. read "or" as "and" in the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1924 and his decision was confirmed by the Court of Appeal (England). One does not do it unless one is obliged to because "or" does not generally mean hand" and "and" does not generally mean "or". See Green v. Premier Glynrhonwy State Co. Ltd (1928) 1 K.B. 561 at P. 568 C.A. (per Scrutton L.J.). In the context that "or" is used in the Act in the italicised clause above, its true meaning in the clause "The Permanent Secretary of Ministry 'OR' the Head of any Government Department e.t.c." it is bound to be disjunctive rather than conjunctive as respondents' counsel in his brief would want us to hold. Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Edition at P. 987 defines "OR" as "A disjunctive particle used to express an alternative or to give a choice of one among two or more things." PER ONU, J.S.C (Pp. 23-24, paras. D-A)

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