Brief of Wallis, Son and Wells v. Pratt and Haynes

Brief of Wallis, Son and Wells v. Pratt and Haynes by Legum

Wallis Son and Wells v Pratt and Haynes [1911] AC 394

Material Facts:

The appellants purchased seeds from the respondent which were described as “common English Sainfoin” by the respondent. There was an exclusion clause incorporated into the contract which stated that “sellers give no warranty expressed or implied as to growth, description or any other matters.” It later turned out that the seeds were not common English sainfoin, but giant sainfoin, seeds of inferior quality. In a suit by the appellants, the respondent sought to rely on the exclusion clause.

Procedural History:

At the trial court, judgement was made in favour of the claimant. On appeal by the respondent, the decision was reversed by the court of appeal. The claimant appealed at the House of Lords.


1. Whether or not the exclusion clause incorporated into the contract by the respondent limited their liability for delivering goods different from the description of the goods.


1. The exclusion clause did not limit the liability of the respondent.

Ratio Decidendi:

The House of Lords held that there was an implied condition in the Sale of Goods Act that goods delivered must correspond with or match their description. Since the exclusion clause sought to limit the liability of the respondent for a breach of warranty, and not for a breach of a condition, the failure to supply goods that corresponded with the description of the goods was deemed to be a breach of a condition per the Sale of Goods Act, and therefore not captured by an exclusion clause designed to exclude liability for breach of warranty.