The defendant auctioneer sold a painting to the plaintiff which turned out to be a forgery. The plaintiff appealed against a finding that it had not relied upon the attribution, saying that there had been a breach of the requirement that the paintig fit the description given.
Held: The appeal failed (Slade LJ dissenting).
Nourse LJ said: ‘many dealers habitually deal with each other on the principle caveat emptor. For my part, being confident that that principle would receive general acceptance amongst dealers, I would say that the astuteness of lawyers ought to be directed towards facilitating, rather than impeding, the efficient working of the market. The court ought to be exceedingly wary in giving a seller’s attribution any contractual effect. To put it in lawyers’ language, the potential arguability of almost any attribution, being part of the common experience of the contracting parties, is part of the factual background against which the effect if any, of an attribution must be judged.
Slade, Nourse, Stuart-Smith LJJ
 1 QB 564,  3 WLR 13,  1 All ER 737, Times 22-Dec-1989,  EWCA Civ 4
Sale of Goods Act 1979 13
England and Wales
Cited – Varley v Whipp QBD 1900
The defendant agreed to buy from the plaintiff a self binder reaping machine, which the defendant had not seen, but which the plaintiff told him had been new the previous year and was represented to have only been used to cut 50 or 60 acres. On . .
Cited – Couchman v Hill CA 1947
The plaintiff purchased from the defendant at auction a heifer which was described in the sale catalogue as ‘unserved’. Later, having been found to be in calf, she died as a result of carrying it at too young an age.
Held: the description of . .
Cited – Joseph Travers and Sons Ltd v Longel Ltd 1947
It being found that the plaintiff buyer had not relied on the inaccurate descriptive name for boots purchased, the sale was not one by description. . .
Cited – Solle v Butcher CA 1949
Fundamental Mistake Needed to Allow Rescission
The court set out the circumstances in which the equitable remedy of rescission of a contract is available for mutual mistake. The mistake has to be as to some fundamental element of the contract. What is ‘fundamental’ is a wider category of event . .
Cited – Leaf v International Galleries (a Firm) CA 1-Mar-1950
In 1944, the plaintiff had purchased a picture of Salisbury Cathedral from the defendant. By innocent misrepresentation, he was told that it was by Constable, and only learned of the error when he set out to sell it five years later.
Held: On . .
Cited – Berger and Co Inc v Gill and Duffus SA (No 2) HL 1984
The sellers had agreed to sell 500 tonnes of bolita beans cif Le Havre. In the event only 445 tonnes were discharged at Le Havre and the remaining 55 tonnes were on-carried to Rotterdam. The documents in respect the 500 tonnes were presented but . .
Cited – Grant v Australian Knitting Mills PC 21-Oct-1935
(Australia) The Board considered how a duty of care may be established: ‘All that is necessary as a step to establish a tort of actionable negligence is define the precise relationship from which the duty to take care is deduced. It is, however, . .
Cited – Rogers v Parish (Scarborough) Ltd CA 1987
The plaintiff appealed against rejection of his claim that the car he had bought from the defendant was not of merchantable quality. The goods were a Range Rover bought for a sum in excess of andpound;14,000.
Held: The appeal was allowed. . .
Cited – Drake v Thos Agnew and Sons Limited QBD 8-Mar-2002
The claimant sought the return of money paid by him for a painting. He said it had been sold to his agent as by ‘Van Dyck’ but subsequently proved not to be so. He had employed an agent to acquire the painting, but the agent had not disclosed to him . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 October 2021; Ref: scu.183425