Hector v Lyons: 1988

The appellant contracted to buy a house but used his under-aged son’s name. He sought specific performance when the vendor failed to complete.
Held: Since he was neither the purchaser nor the purchaser’s agent, specific performance was refused. In unilateral mistake case goods are sold by V, to P, believing P to be X. P may fraudulently represent that he is X. In a face to face sale, the fact that V mistakes the identity of X does not render the contract void for mistake. It is a unilateral mistake as to a quality of the purchaser; only in cases where the identity of the purchaser is of direct and important materiality in inducing the vendor to enter into the contract is a mistake of that kind capable of avoiding the contract. Those principles have no application where the contract is wholly in writing. The identity of the parties is established by the names put in the contract. Once there, the court’s only task is to identify who they are. ‘In the present case the deputy judge has found as a fact that the party named in the written contract was Mr. Hector junior. It follows, in my judgment, that in the absence of rectification, which has not been claimed, or Mr. Cogley’s alternative argument based on agency the only person who can enforce that contract is the party to it, namely Mr. Hector junior.’


Sir Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson V-C


(1988) 58 PandCR 156


England and Wales


CitedLewis v Averay CA 22-Jul-1971
A private seller had parted with his car in return for a worthless cheque to a rogue who persuaded him that he was the well-known actor who played Robin Hood on television, and who sold it on to the defendant.
Held: ‘When two parties have come . .
CitedKing’s Norton Metal Co Ltd v Edridge Merrett and Co Ltd CA 1879
A crook ordered some brass rivet wire from a metal manufacturer. On his stationery he represented falsely that he was in business in a big way, running a large factory and having several depots and agencies. The manufacturer supplied the goods but . .

Cited by:

CitedNorman Hudson v Shogun Finance Ltd CA 28-Jun-2001
A rogue had purchased a car, using a false name to obtain finance. He had then sold it to the defendant. The finance company claimed the car back.
Held: The dealer had not taken all the steps he might have done to check the identity of the . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Equity, Contract

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.188421