Mogul Steamship Co Ltd v McGregor, Gow & Co

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Mogul Steamship Co Ltd v McGregor, Gow & Co
Court House of Lords
Citation(s) [1892] AC 25
Case history
Prior action(s) (1889) 23 QBD 598, (1888) LR 21 QBD 544
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Lord Halsbury LC, Lord Watson, Lord Macnaghten, Lord Bramwell, Lord Morris, Lord Field, Lord Hannen
Conspiracy to injure, economic tort

Mogul Steamship Co Ltd v McGregor, Gow & Co [1892] AC 25 is an English tort law case concerning the economic tort of conspiracy to injure. A product of its time, the courts adhered to a laissez faire doctrine allowing firms to form a cartel, which would now be seen as contrary to the Competition Act 1998.


A group of ship owners formed an association to raise their profits. The association agreed to limit the number of ships sent by the association to different ports, to give a 5% rebate on freights to all shippers of stock who dealt only with members, and that agents of members would be prohibited from dealing with anyone in the association if they did not deal exclusively with people in the association. If any member wished to withdraw, they would have to give notice. Mogul Steamship Co Ltd had been excluded. When it sent ships to the loading port to pick up cargo, the association sent more ships and underbid Mogul Steamship Co Ltd. The association also threatened to dismiss agents or withdraw rebates from anyone who dealt with Mogul Steamship Co Ltd. Mogul Steamship Co Ltd alleged there was a conspiracy to injure its economic interests and sued for compensation.


Court of Appeal[edit]

The Court of Appeal held by a majority that the action taken was lawful.[1] Lord Esher MR dissented, and Bowen LJ and Fry LJ formed the majority. Bowen LJ noted the following.

House of Lords[edit]

The House of Lords, affirming the Court of Appeal's decision,[2] held that the acts were done with a lawful object of protecting and increasing the associations profits. Because no unlawful means had been employed, Mogul Steamship Co Ltd had no cause of action.

Lord Bramwell's judgment read as follows.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (1889) 23 QBD 598; this affirmed (1888) LR 21 QBD 544, Lord Coleridge CJ
  2. ^ (1889) 23 QBD 598, Lord Esher MR (dissenting), Bowen LJ and Fry LJ; this affirmed (1888) LR 21 QBD 544, Lord Coleridge CJ
  3. ^ [1892] AC 25, 44-49
  4. ^ 23 QBD 607
  5. ^ 23 QBD 625, 626