A Quick Summary of Priest v Last (1903) Case

Priest v Last

Case name & citation: Priest v Last [1903] 2 K.B. 148

Court and jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal, England & Wales

Year of the case: 1903

Area of law: Implied condition as to the fitness of use

What is the case about?

This is an English case law that throws light on the responsibility of a seller to ensure that the goods supplied are fit for use.

Facts of the case (Priest v Last)

The plaintiff purchased a hot water bottle from the defendant who was a chemist. The bottle was used by the plaintiff’s wife, and on the fifth usage, it burst, thereby scalding her. The buyer filed a claim for violation of Section 14(3) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979. The seller contended that the buyer had not specified the purpose for which the hot water bottle was to be utilized.

Issue that arose in this case

Was there a breach of the implied condition as to fitness?

The decision of the Court in Priest v Last

According to the defendant, Priest did not specify the purpose for which he required the hot water bottle. However, due to the fact that hot water bottles are purchased with a specific use in mind, the Court dismissed this argument.

Evidence showed that the hot water bottle was deemed unfit for its “obvious and common purpose” and therefore was not merchantable.

Hence, the seller was held liable for damages since the implied condition as to fitness was not met in this case. Further, the buyer relied on the skill and judgement of the seller.

Governing rule behind the decision

Goods bought must be reasonably fit for the particular purpose for which they have been bought. This (purpose) may be made known by the buyer either expressly or by implication.

If the goods serve only one basic purpose, then the notification by the buyer of the reason for which he purchases the goods shall be implied from such purchase.

List of references:


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