Parker v South Eastern Rly Co

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Parker v South Eastern Railway
Charing Cross in the 19th century.jpg
CourtCourt of Appeal
Citation(s)[1877] 2 CPD 416
Case history
Subsequent action(s)(1875-76) LR 1 CPD 618
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingMellish LJ, Baggallay LJ, Bramwell LJ

Parker v South Eastern Railway [1877] 2 CPD 416 is a famous English contract law case on exclusion clauses where the court held that an individual cannot escape a contractual term by failing to read the contract but that a party wanting to rely on an exclusion clause must take reasonable steps to bring it to the attention of the customer.


Mr. Parker left a bag in the cloakroom of Charing Cross railway station, run by the South Eastern Railway Company. On depositing his bag and paying two pence he received a ticket. On the front it said "see back". On its back, it stated that the railway was excluded from liability for items worth £10 or more. Mr. Parker failed to read the clause as he thought the ticket was only a receipt of payment. However, he admitted that he knew the ticket contained writing. Mr. Parker's bag, which was worth more than £10, was lost. He sued the company. The question of law put to the court was whether the clause applied to Mr. Parker. At trial the jury found for Mr. Parker as it was reasonable for him not to read the ticket.


Divisional Court[edit]

Lord Coleridge CJ, Brett J and Lindley J decided in favour of Mr. Parker, upholding the jury award. Lindley J remarked,

Court of Appeal[edit]

The majority of the Court of Appeal held there should be a retrial. They said that if Mr Parker knew of the conditions he would be bound. If he did not know, he would still be bound if he was given the ticket in such a way as amounted to "reasonable notice". Mellish LJ said the following.

Baggallay LJ concurred, and predicted that the same result would be reached by the jury (in Mr Parker's favour). Bramwell LJ dissented, holding that reasonable notice should be a question of law, and that he would have decided in favour of the railway company.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Law Rep 2 HL, Sc. 470