Midland Silicones Ltd v Scruttons Ltd: HL 6 Dec 1961

The defendant stevedores, engaged by the carrier, negligently damaged a drum containing chemicals. When the cargo-owners sued in tort, the stevedores unsuccessfully attempted to rely on a limitation clause contained in the bill of lading between the carriers and the cargo-owners.
Held: The House was not prepared to hold that the principle of vicarious immunity was as in the ratio of Elder, Dempster. The court described four conditions for establishing that a contract was made as agent for a third party who could thus take benefit, namely: Was the third party intended to benefit from the contractual term, whether it was clear that the contracting party was also contracting as agent for the third party, whether he had authority so to do, and whether any difficulty with consideration was overcome.
As to the doctrine of privity of contract, Viscount Simonds said: ‘[H]eterodoxy, or, as some might say, heresy, is not the more attractive because it is dignified by the name of reform. . . . If the principle of jus quaesitum tertio is to be introduced into our law, it must be done by Parliament after a due consideration of its merits and demerits. I should not be prepared to give it my support without a greater knowledge than I at present possess of its operation in other systems of law.’
Viscount Simonds, Lord Reid
[1962] AC 446, [1961] UKHL 4
England and Wales
CitedElder, Dempster and Co Ltd v Paterson, Zochonis and Co Ltd HL 1924
The question was asked whether, as a defence to a shipper’s action in tort for negligently stowing cargo, shipowners could rely on an exclusion clause in the bills of lading, despite the fact that the contract of carriage was between the shipper and . .
Appeal fromMidland Silicones Ltd v Scruttons Ltd CA 1960
. .
AffirmedTweddle v Atkinson, Executor of Guy, Deceased QBD 7-Jun-1861
An agreement was made by the fathers of a bride and groom to pay the groom a sum of money. When the bride’s father failed to pay, the groom sued.
Held: The claim failed. Wightman J said that no stranger to the consideration could take . .
At first instanceMidland Silicones Ltd v Scruttons Ltd QBD 1959
A bailment arises when, albeit on a limited or temporary basis, the bailee acquires exclusive possession of the chattel or a right thereto. . .

Cited by:
CitedBorkan General Trading Ltd v Monsoon Trading Ltd CA 8-Jul-2003
A contract for a tug expressly provided a benefit for a third party. He now sought to claim benefit under it.
Held: If, in the absence of a trust in his favour a third party for whose benefit a contract had expressly been made, could not take . .
MentionedBeswick 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 . .
CitedKamidian v Holt (on Behalf of Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s) and others ComC 27-Jun-2008
The claimant claimed to have bought what he believed to be a genuine Faberge Egg Clock, but which his insurers said was a copy. It was loaned to an exhibition, and insured, and damaged twice. The parties disagreed as to the disappreciation value, . .
CitedYearworth and others v North Bristol NHS Trust CA 4-Feb-2009
The defendant hospital had custody of sperm samples given by the claimants in the course of fertility treatment. The samples were effectively destroyed when the fridge malfunctioned. Each claimant was undergoing chemotherapy which would prevent them . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 January 2021; Ref: scu.185204