Hartog v Colin and Shields: 1939

The defendants had contracted to sell to the plaintiff 30,000 Argentine hairskins but by an alleged mistake the defendants offered the goods at a price per pound weight instead of a price per piece. The value of a piece was approximately one third that of the value at pound weight. Previous discussions had been on the usual trade practice of a price per piece.
Held: The plaintiff could not reasonably have supposed that the offer expressed the real intention of the persons making it and must have known that it would have been made by mistake and that the plaintiff did not by his acceptance of the offer make a binding contract with the defendants. If one party to a proposed contract knows or really ought to have known that the offeror does not intend the terms of the offer to be those that the natural meaning of the words would suggest, and that the terms offered were a mistake, he cannot, by purporting to accept the offer, bind the offeror to a contract.


[1939] 3 All ER 566

Cited by:

CitedShogun Finance Limited v Hudson HL 19-Nov-2003
Thief acquired no title and could not sell
A purchaser used a stolen driving licence to obtain credit for and purchase a car. He then purported to sell it to the respondent, and then disappeared. The finance company sought return of the car.
Held: (Lords Nicholls and Millett . .
CitedDresdner Kleinwort Ltd and Another v Attrill and Others CA 26-Apr-2013
The bank appealed against judgment against it on claims by former senior employees for contractual discretionary bonuses.
Held: The appeal failed. The bank’s unilateral promise made within the context of an existing employment relationship to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.188456