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Lonrho v Shell

[1982] AC 173

Case summary last updated at 20/01/2020 18:44 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Lonrho v Shell

There was an act prohibiting the supply of oil to Rhodesia when it illegally declared independence from the UK. P complied but D did not, and P claimed that D’s breach caused P loss, since the supply of oil in breach of the act sustained the illegal govt which would otherwise have collapsed and allowed the state of affairs to return to normal, so that P could have recommenced supplying oil. HL held that the act gave no private cause of action. 
Lord Diplock: whether or not a private cause of action is granted is a question of construction. There are 2 classes of exception to the general rule that a statutory duty cannot be enforced in any way other than that proscribed in the statute: (1) where the statute was intended to benefit a particular class of individuals; and (2) where a staute creates a “public right” (i.e. for everyone who chooses to use it) and an individual suffers damage that is “particular, direct and substantial, other and different from that which was common to all the rest of the public”. This case falls within neither category. 

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