Drive Yourself Hire Co (London) Ltd v Strutt: CA 1954

The court discussed the doctrine of privity of contract. Lord Denning MR said: ‘It is often said to be a fundamental principle of our law that only a person who is a party to a contract can sue on it. I wish to assert, as distinctly as I can, that the common law in its original setting knew no such principle. Indeed, it said quite the contrary. For the 200 years before 1861 it was settled law that, if a promise in a simple contract was made expressly for the benefit of a third person in such circumstances that it was intended to be enforceable by him, then the common law would enforce the promise at his instance, although he was not a party to the contract.’


Lord Denning MR


[1954] 1 QB 250


Law of Property Act 1925 56


England and Wales


CitedDutton v Poole KBD 1678
A son made a promise to his father that, in return for his father not selling a wood, he would pay andpound;1000 to his sister. The father refrained from selling the wood, but the son did not pay. It was held that the sister could sue, on the ground . .

Cited by:

CitedBeswick v Beswick HL 29-Jun-1967
The deceased had assigned his coal merchant business to the respondent against a promise to pay andpound;5.00 a week to his widow whilst she lived. The respondent appealed an order requiring him to make the payments, saying that as a consolidating . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.221996