British Airways Board v Taylor: HL 1976

Lord Wilberforce said: ‘My Lords, the distinction in law between a promise as to future action, which may be broken or kept, and a statement as to existing fact, which may be true or false, is clear enough. There may be inherent in a promise an implied statement as to a fact, and where this is really the case, the court can attach appropriate consequences to any falsity in, or recklessness in the making of, that statement. Everyone is familiar with the proposition that a statement of intention may itself be a statement of fact and so capable of being true or false. But this proposition should not be used as a general solvent to transform the one type of assurance with another: the distinction is a real one and requires to be respected, particularly where the effect of treating an assurance as a statement is to attract criminal consequences, as in the present case.’
References: [1976] 1 WLR 13
Judges: Lord Wilberforce
Statutes: Trade Descriptions Act 1968 14(1)
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Shropshire County Council (David Walker) v Simon Dudley Limited Admn 17-Dec-1996
    A customer’s description of the goods he required was a trade description for the future supply of those goods by the seller claiming to fulfil that specification. The trading standards officer appealed dismissal of his prosecution of the defendant . .
    (Times 03-Jan-97, , [1996] EWHC Admin 376)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.194020