Brinkibon Ltd v Stahag Stahl und Stahlwarenhandelsgesellschaft mbH: HL 1982

Brinkibon, based in London wanted to buy steel from the defendants who were in Austria. They accepted Stahag’s offer by Telex to Vienna. Brinkibon wanted to sue Stahag and in order to have leave to serve out of the jurisdiction, had to establish that the contract had been formed in England.
Held: The contract had been formed in Austria. In the case of instantaneous communication, which included telex, the contract is normally formed in the jurisdiction where the acceptance is received.
Lord Wilberforce said: ‘Since 1955 the use of Telex communication has been greatly expanded, and there are many variants on it. The senders and recipients may not be the principals to the contemplated contract. They may be servants or agents with limited authority. The message may not reach, or be intended to reach, the designated recipient immediately: messages may be sent out of office hours, or at night, with the intention, or on the assumption that they will be read at a later time. There may be some error or default at the recipient’s end which prevents receipt at the time contemplated and believed in by the sender. The message may have been sent and/or received through machines operated by third persons. And many other variants may occur. No universal rule can cover all such cases; they must be resolved by reference to the intentions of the parties, by sound business practice and in some cases by a judgement where the risks should lie.’


Lord Wilberforce


[1983] 2 AC 34


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedChartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd and Another ChD 2-Mar-2007
The claimants had entered into an agreement with the defendant house-builder for the development of a site which the claimants had recently acquired. The structure of the agreement was that the developer would obtain planning permission and, under . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Jurisdiction

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.251172