Ruabon Steamship Co v The London Assurance Co: HL 1900

Lord Halisbury said: ‘I cannot understand how it can be asserted that it is part of the common law that where one person gets some advantage from the act of another, a right of contribution towards the expense from that act arises.’ Rejecting the argument, he continued: ‘But this is the first time in which it has sought to advance that principle where there is nothing in common between the two persons, except that one person has taken advantage of something that another person has done, there being no contract between them, there being no obligation by which each of them is bound, and the duty to contribute is alleged to arise only on some general principle of justice, that a man ought not to get an advantage unless he pays for it. So that if a man were to cut down a wood which obscured his neighbour’s prospect and gave him a better view, he ought in principle to be compelled to contribute to cutting down the wood.’


Lord Halisbury


[1900] AC 61


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBecerra v Close Brothers ComC 25-Jun-1999
ComC Claim for fee for introducing successful bidder at a controlled auction – no express contract – no implied contract based on City practice – claim for quantum meruit failed because no express or implied . .
DistinguishedTFL Management Services Ltd v Lloyds Bank Plc CA 14-Nov-2013
The court was asked: ‘A spends money seeking a judgment for the recovery of a debt from B. A fails to recover the debt because, so the court holds, the debt is not in fact owed by B to A (as A mistakenly thought), but owed by B to C. C then recovers . .
CitedRevenue and Customs v The Investment Trust Companies SC 11-Apr-2017
Certain investment trust companies (ITCs) sought refunds of VAT paid on the supply of investment management services. EU law however clarified that they were not due. Refunds were restricted by the Commissioners both as to the amounts and limitation . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Damages

Updated: 26 July 2022; Ref: scu.245320