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Smith v Land and House Property Corp

[1884] 28 Ch D 7

Case summary last updated at 02/01/2020 14:55 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Smith v Land and House Property Corp

 P offered to sell a hotel to D, saying it was let to a desirable lessee for £400 a month for 20 more years. It turned out that in fact the lessee was undesirable (he often missed payments) and, based on the business facts, he could never have paid that much rent. CA held that the statement that D was a “most desirable” lessee was not merely an opinion of fact but also contained an assertion as to the fact that P had no evidence to the contrary. Since this was false, it was a misrepresentation. There was no doubt that the misrepresentation had induced the company to enter the agreement. 

Bowen LJ: Where the facts are known by both the parties equally, then most statements will be expressions of opinion. But “if the facts are not equally known to both sides, then a statement of opinion by the one who knows the facts best involves very often a statement of a material fact, for he impliedly states that he knows facts which justify his opinion.” 

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