J Spurling Ltd v Bradshaw

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J Spurling Ltd v Bradshaw
Court Court of Appeal
Decided 20 March 1956
Citation(s) [1956] EWCA Civ 3, [1956] 1 WLR 461; [1956] 2 All ER 121; [1956] 1 Lloyd's Rep 392
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Denning LJ, Morris LJ, Parker LJ

J Spurling Ltd v Bradshaw [1956] EWCA Civ 3 is an English contract law and English property law case on exclusion clauses and bailment. It is best known for Denning LJ's red hand rule comment where he said,


J Spurling Ltd had a warehouse in East London. Mr Andrew Bradshaw had seven barrels of orange juice. He asked Spurling Ltd to store them. In the contract was the "London lighterage clause" which exempted warehousemen from liability due to their negligence. When the barrels were collected, they were damaged. When Bradshaw refused to pay Spurling Ltd, the company sued for the cost. Bradshaw counterclaimed for damages for breach of an implied term of a contract of bailment to take reasonable care.


Denning LJ, Morris LJ and Parker LJ held that although the warehouse employees were negligent, the clause effectively exempted them.

Denning LJ's judgment went as follows. Note that his reference to the concept of a fundamental breach precluding an exclusion of liability was rejected by the House of Lords some years later in Photo Production Ltd v Securicor Transport Ltd [1980] AC 827.

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