Phillips v Brooks Ltd  2 KB 243
A rogue, named North, entered a jewellery shop owned by Phillips, bought some goods, and claimed to be one Sir George Bullough. The rogue presented an address that matched the address of the said Sir George Bullough, and handed over a cheque of £3000 as payment for the goods. Phillips convinced he was dealing with Sir George Bullough, accepted the cheque and handed over the goods to the rogue. When the cheque later turned out to be a dud check, Phillips sought to recover the goods from Brooks, a third party to whom the rogue had pawned the goods.
1. Whether the contract between Phillips and North was void on grounds of a unilateral mistake as to the identity of North?
2. Whether or not Brooks obtained a valid title to the goods?
1. That the contract between Phillips and North was not void on grounds of a unilateral mistake of identity.
2. That Brooks obtained a valid title to the goods.
The court held that Phillips intended to sell to the person who was present in his shop. Per Horridge J, Phillips “… could not have supposed that he was selling to any other person; he intended to sell to the person present, and identified by sight and hearing; it does not defeat the sale because the buyer assumed a false name or practised any other deceit to induce the vendor to sell.” The contract between the rogue and Phillips was only voidable on grounds of fraudulent misrepresentation, and since Phillips had not taken steps to avoid the rogue’s title, the rogue transferred a valid title to Brooks.