Mackay v Dick and Stevenson: HL 1881

One party contracted to supply to the other ‘a steam navvy of novel construction’ on condition that it achieved a stipulated rate of excavation in stipulated circumstances. The purchaser did not make available the ‘opened up face’ that was necessary to enable the trial to be carried out.
Held: A term will be read into a contract as a matter of law to prevent one contracting party frustrating the performance of an obligation by the other contracting party where it was dependent on action being taken or not taken by the first party.
Lord Blackburn said: ‘Where in a written contract it appears that both parties have agreed that something shall be done, which cannot effectually be done unless both concur in doing it, the construction of the contract is that each agrees to do all that is necessary to be done on his part for the carrying out of that thing.’


Lord Blackburn


(1881) 6 App Cas 251


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedSouth West Trains Ltd v Wightman and Others ChD 14-Jan-1998
The trades’ union had agreed with the employer that what had been irregular and non-pensionable payments made to employees would, in future, be paid regularly, but that only certain parts of the payments become pensionable. The employer now sought . .
CitedInntrepreneur Pub Company (CPC) and others v Crehan HL 19-Jul-2006
The tenant had taken on pub leases with ties requiring him to buy beer from companies associated with the landlords. The European Commission had issued a decision and the House was asked whether this was binding on the parties.
Held: . .
CitedSociete Generale, London Branch v Geys SC 19-Dec-2012
The claimant’s employment by the bank had been terminated. The parties disputed the sums due, and the date of the termination of the contract. The court was asked ‘Does a repudiation of a contract of employment by the employer which takes the form . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.214706