Mortgagor, mortgagee and £1m damages claim

It is indeed a tough one, keeping mortgagor and mortgagee apart. I can remember times when I went through the whole of a text in my translation memory program to be quite sure I had got the parties right, especially since there are sometimes errors in the German original.

But I have doubts about the prospects of Nigerian lawyers who are suing the University of Oxford (not OUP?) for errors in mini dictionaries, as reported to The Guardian (Nigeria). Lawyers demand £1 million damages in dictionary error:

It would be interesting to know how this pans out. Yes, some Nigerian lawyers have issued a notice of intention to sue the University of Oxford, over an alleged wrong definition of words “Mortgagee and Mortgagor” in their Oxford mini reference dictionary and Oxford English mini-dictionary, unless they are willing to part with £ 1 million.

The lawyers, Messrs Ogedi Ogu, and Emmanuel Ofoegbu in a notice of intention to sue dated November 9, 2016, addressed to the Registrar, University of Oxford, London, are demanding the sum of £ 1 million for the losses they suffered in their transactions, when they relied on the said wrong definition of the words.

They said the Oxford English mini dictionary and the Oxford mini reference dictionary defined the word “Mortgagee” to mean a borrower and the word “Mortgagor to mean a lender.

According to them, the dictionary definitions are wrongful and misleading as in a Mortgage transaction, the word “Mortgagee” connotes a lender while a “Mortgagor signifies a borrower.

As a result, the lawyers are demanding that the University of Oxford pays to them the money for the wrong definitions of words, which they relied upon to their own detriment.

In addition, they demand that the University of Oxford and Oxford University press, issue a world wide notice of the errors complained of within seven days from the receipt of the said notice.

Via Frédéric Houbert and Tom West.

2 thoughts on “Mortgagor, mortgagee and £1m damages claim

  1. Hmm, perhaps the ‘left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing’.

    My OED – Oxford Concise English Dictionary, 1995 edition, says rightly but oddly for ‘mortgagee: the creditor in a mortgage, usually a bank or building society’ and, for ‘mortgager (also mortgagor): the debtor in a mortgage’.

    Certainly, reputable general dictionaries – as we will recall from our studies of ELS (the English Legal System) – can be used as ain ‘aid to interpretation (of laws) or construction (of documents)’ for the meaning of ordinary, everyday (?) words.

    Having once got into a pickle myself over the parties to a ship mortgage at a job interview with a City of London firm of shipping solicitors, I have noted – with some relief – a tendency nowadays to use the terms of mortgage lender and mortgage borrower.

    I wonder, though, whether the terms of mortgagor and mortgagee should have been used in the first place if the transactions had involved chattel mortgages – to which the parties (in English Common Law countries) are called chargor and chargee, both terms ostensibly outside the remit of the OED.

  2. Ah, there you are again, Adrian.
    Good idea on the mortgage borrower/mortgage lender.
    I can’t remember having to use those terms in a translation but in cases like principal and client, using search and replace to make absolutely sure I had the right one – the problem being that you can’t trust the source text to use the right one.
    I don’t think you should be calling that the OED or refer to the ‘remit’ of this pocket manifestation. The actual OED hasn’t got chargor either. For chargee it has the following, but notes it has not been updated since 1889:

    ‘chargee, n.
    Etymology: < charge v. or charge n.1 + -ee suffix1; on analogy of mortgagee. The holder of a charge upon property, or of a security over a contract. 1884 Law Rep.: Chancery Div. 26 625 The chargees..were entitled to a charge on 90 per cent. of the moneys payable under the contract. 1886 Law Times 80 166/1 The..chargee intended to protect himself by a policy of insurance against the infants both dying under twenty-one.'

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