Davies v Sumner: HL 1984

The defendant used his own car almost exclusively in the course of his occupation as a courier. He sold and replaced it with another for similar use. He was charged before justices with the offence of applying, ‘in the course of trade or business’, a false trade description in respect of the mileage as shown on the odometer and he was acquitted on the grounds that the sale was not in the course of a trade or business within the meaning of the section. On appeal, the prosecution submitted that it was sufficient that the transaction was reasonably incidental to the carrying on of his business as courier.
Held: ‘Any disposal of any chattel held for the purposes of a business may, in a certain sense, be said to have been in the course of that business, irrespective of whether the chattel was acquired with a view to resale or for consumption or as a capital asset. But in my opinion section 1(1) of the Act is not intended to cast such a wide net as this. The expression ‘in the course of a trade or business’ in the context of an Act having consumer protection as its primary purpose conveys the concept of some degree of regularity and it is to be observed that the long title to the Act refer to ‘ mis-descriptions of goods, services, accommodation and facilities provided in the course of trade.’

Lord Keith of Kinkel
[1984] 1 WLR 1301
Trade Descriptions Act 1968 1(1)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedR and B Customs Brokers Co Ltd v United Dominions Trust Ltd CA 1988
There was an issue whether or not the purchase by the plaintiff of a second-hand car was made ‘in the course of a business’ so as to preclude the plaintiff from relying upon the provisions of the 1977 Act.
Held: Speaking of Lord Keith’s . .
CitedStevenson and Another v Rogers CA 8-Dec-1998
The defendant, who carried on the business of a fisherman, sold his vessel Jelle to the plaintiff with a view to having a new boat built to his requirements. In the event he bought a replacement vessel which he continued to use for his business. The . .
CitedGE Capital Bank Ltd v Rushton and Another CA 14-Dec-2005
The bank had entered into a master trading agreement with a trader under which the trader bought motor vehicles as agent for the bank for resale. The vehicles belonged to the bank. The defendant bought all the trader’s vehicles. The defendant now . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Consumer

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.187298