Torkington v Magee: 11 Jul 1902

Chose in Action defined

The effect of the 1873 Act was essentially procedural and it did not render choses in action that had not previously been assignable in equity capable of assignment.
Channell J defined a debt or other legal chose in action: ”Chose in Action’ is a known legal expression used to describe all personal rights of property which can only be claimed or enforced by action, and not by taking physical possession. It is an expression large enough to include rights which it can hardly have been intended should be assignable by virtue of the sub-section in question, as, for instance, shares, which can only be transferred as provided by the Companies Acts. It is probably necessary, therefore, to put some limit upon the generality of the words; but I think that the necessary limitation is shewn by the considerations to which I have already referred, and also by the words of subs. 6 itself. I think the words ‘debt or other legal chose in action’ mean ‘debt or right which the common law looks on as not assignable by reason of its being a chose in action, but which a Court of Equity deals with as being assignable’.’

Lord Alverstone CJ, Darling and Channell JJ
[1902] 2 KB 427, [1902] UKLawRpKQB 119, [1900-3] All ER 991
Judicature Act 1873 25(6)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedMurungaru v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others CA 12-Sep-2008
The claimant was a former Kenyan minister. He had been visiting the UK for medical treatment. His visas were cancelled on the basis that his presence was not conducive to the public good. Public Interest Immunity certificates had been issued to . .
CitedSimpson v Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust CA 12-Oct-2011
The court was asked whether it was possible to assign as a chose in action a cause of action in tort for damages for personal injury, and if so under what circumstances it was possible.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The claimant did not have . .
CitedWilliams v Glover and Another ChD 4-Jun-2013
The company’s liquidator had refused to assign to its former directors a claim for a reduction in corporation tax which they were funding.
Held: Such a claim did not constitute property within section 436, and was not a chose capable of . .
CitedYour Response Ltd v Datateam Business Media Ltd CA 14-Mar-2014
The claimant employed the defendant to manage subscription lists for the claimant’s magazines. The claimant came to seek damages, and the defendant for non-payment of its invoices. The court was now asked whether it was possible to assert a common . .
CitedMarshall, Regina v CACD 6-Mar-1998
Sale of Unexpired Portion of Ticket can be a Theft
The defendants had been using London Underground tickets, but selling on the unused balance after their journey. On a ruling at trial, they pleaded guilty to theft, but now appealed.
Held: The appeals failed. Although the tickets had passed to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.277075