Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain -v- Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd; CA 5 Feb 1953

References: [1953] 1 QB 401, [1953] 1 All ER 482, [1953] EWCA Civ 6
Links: Bailii
Coram: Somervell LJ, Birkett LJ, Romer LJ
The defendant was charged with selling controlled pharmaceutical products other than under the supervision of a pharmacist. The shop operated on a self-service basis. The Society appealed.
Held: The acquittal was confirmed. Somervell LJ said: ‘Whether the view contended for by the plaintiffs is a right view depends on what are the legal implications of this layout – the invitation to the customer, is a contract to be regarded as being completed when the article is put into the receptacle, or is this to be regarded as a more organized way of doing what is already done in many types of shops – and a bookseller is perhaps the best example – namely, enabling customers to have free access to what is in the shop, to look at the different articles, and then, ultimately, having got the ones which they wish to buy, to come up to the assistant stating ‘I want this’? . . In the case of an ordinary shop, although goods are displayed and it is intended that customers should go and choose what they want, the contract is not completed until, the customer having indicated the articles which he needs, the shopkeeper . . accepts that offer. Then the contract is completed. I can see no reason at all, that being clearly the normal position, for drawing any different implication as a result of this layout.’
Statutes: Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1933 18(1)(a)(iii)
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