Interfoto Picture Library Ltd v Stiletto Visual Programmes Ltd

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Interfoto Ltd v Stiletto Ltd
Overhead projector 3M 01.JPG
Court Court of Appeal
Full case name Interfoto Picture Library Ltd v Stiletto Visual Programmes Ltd
Citation(s) [1987] EWCA Civ 6, [1989] QB 433
Case opinions
Dillon LJ, Bingham LJ

Interfoto Picture Library Ltd v Stiletto Visual Programmes Ltd [1987] EWCA Civ 6 is an English contract law case on onerous clauses and the rule of common law that reasonable notice of them must be given to a contracting party in order that they be effective. It also addressed, but did not decide, the position of onerous clauses as disguised penalties (which are ineffective at common law).

Facts[edit]

Interfoto delivered 47 photographic transparencies to Stiletto in a jiffy bag. Stiletto was planning to use them for a presentation, but in the event it did not. It never opened the transparency bag or read Interfoto's standard terms and conditions, which were inside the bag. Condition 2 said there was a holding fee of £5 per transparency for each day over fourteen days. After around a month, Interfoto sent a bill for £3,783.50.

Judgment[edit]

The Court of Appeal held that the holding fee was ineffective. Dillon LJ said that a ‘particularly onerous or unusual’ term must have special notice. However, Interfoto was entitled to a small restitutory charge of £3.50 per transparency per week for their holding.

Bingham LJ held that the clause was not valid. It was ‘a venial period of delay [for] an inordinate liability.’ The issue was, he said,

He advocated embracing good faith - ‘showing up your cards’, ‘fair dealing’, and so on. On penalty clauses, Bingham LJ noted at the end of his decision,[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ at 445-446; See also, Dillon LJ at 439