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Phillips v Brooks

[1919] 2 KB 243

Case summary last updated at 02/01/2020 16:39 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Phillips v Brooks

X paid for a ring in P’s shop with a cheque that bounced and was fraudulently made, since X paid for it under the false name of “Sir George Bullough”. He then sold it to D, under another name again, who bought it in good faith. P sued D for the return of the ring or for damages on the grounds that the contract P made with X had never been formed since P had only ever intended to sell to “Sir George Bullough”. Horridge J found for the defendants. 

Horridge J: P intended to sell to the person in front of him, regardless of what the name was supposed to be, and therefore there was in reality an intention to contract with the person present. There was no error as to the person with whom he contracted. 

This is unrealistic. Smith: What if X had dressed up as a celebrity and done the same thing: would there still be no mistake as to person?

Wade: Normally an original owner recovers rather than the innocent receiver of a fraudulently-passed object. There is no good reason to reverse this where the owner has met the fraudulent party face-to-face: the owner has no better an opportunity here than in other cases to verify the facts. 

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