Sze Hai Tong Bank Ltd v Rambler Cycle Co Ltd: PC 1959

Lord Denning noted that the exclusion clause at issue ‘on the face of it, could not be more comprehensive’ but declined to interpret it as absolving the shipping company from liability. He said: ‘If such an extreme width were given to the exemption clause, it would run counter to the main object and intent of the contract. For the contract, as it seems to their Lordships has, as one of its main objects, the proper delivery of the goods by the shipping company, ‘unto order or his or their assigns’, against the production of the bill of lading. It would defeat this object entirely if the shipping company was at liberty, at its own will and pleasure, to deliver the goods to somebody else, to somebody not entitled at all, without being liable for the consequences. The clause must therefore be limited and modified to the extent necessary to enable effect to be given to the main object and intent of the contract . . ‘


Lord Denning


[1959] AC 576, [1959] 3 All ER 182, [1959] 2 Lloyds Rep 114

Cited by:

MentionedGeorge Mitchell (Chesterhall) Ltd v Finney Lock Seeds Ltd CA 29-Sep-1982
The buyer bought 30lbs of cabbage seed, but the seed was not correct, and the crop was worthless. The seed cost pounds 192, but the farmer lost pounds 61,000. The seed supplier appealed the award of the larger amount and interest, saying that their . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Commonwealth

Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.266866