Castaneda v Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Co Ltd: HL 28 Jul 1902

In 1896 a contract to build four torpedo boat destroyers for the Spanish navy was entered into between A, Chief, and B, Commissary of the Spanish Royal Naval Commission, London, ‘both in the name and representation of his Excellency the Spanish Minister of Marine in Madrid, hereinafter called the Spanish Government,’ and a Scottish shipbuilding company. The contract provided that it was to have no legal power until ratified by the Spanish Government. The contract was duly ratified by the Spanish Government. In 1900, D, then Spanish Minister of Marine at Madrid, but who was not Minister of Marine at the date of the contract; E, then chief of the said Spanish Royal Naval Commission, London; F, the Commissary of the same; and the said Spanish Royal Naval Commission, raised an action against the shipbuilding company for breach of the contract of 1896, upon the ground that the torpedo boat destroyers had not been delivered within the time specified in the contract, and that loss and damage had been sustained by the Spanish Government owing to the delay. The pursuers averred that both in making and enforcing contracts relating to war vessels the Government of Spain was by the law of Spain represented by the Minister of Marine.
Held ( rev. judgment of the Second Division, and restoring judgment of Lord Low, Ordinary) that the Minister of Marine for the time being had a good title to sue the action.


Lord Chancellor (Halsbury) and Lords Macnaghten, Brampton, Robertson, and Lindley


[1902] UKHL 855, 39 SLR 855






Updated: 05 July 2022; Ref: scu.630799