A Summary of Bramhill v Edwards [2004] Case

Bramhill v Edwards

Case name & citation: Bramhill v Edwards [2004] EWCA Civ 403; [2004] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 653

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

Year of the case: 2004

Area of law: Implied condition as to Satisfactory Quality

What is the case about?

Bramhill v Edwards [2004] is a UK case concerning the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Here, the Court applied the test as to whether a reasonable person would regard the goods in question as being unsatisfactory.

Case facts (Bramhill v Edwards)

In this case, a second-hand ‘Dolphin’ motor home was sold by the seller (Mr and Mrs Edwards) to the buyer (Mr and Mrs Bramhill) for £61,000. Edwards had imported the motor home from the United States.

The evidence showed that the motor home was wider than the 100-inch maximum limit set by Regulation 8 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. The motor home was 102 inches wide, which was found to be inappropriate. Bramhills had used the motor home for six or seven months when they measured its width and found this.

On finding this, Bramhills complained about the width to Edwards and also asked them to take the Dolphin back in part exchange for another vehicle. But the request was refused. Later, an action was brought against the seller for breach of Section 14(2A) on account of the vehicle being too wide. The buyer had also contacted the Vehicle Inspectors about the width of the vehicle and they cautioned him that continuing to use the Dolphin may result in prosecution as it did not comply with UK regulations.

Issue

Whether the vehicle was of satisfactory quality under Section 14(2A)?

Governing section

According to Section 14(2) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, there is an implied term in a contract of sale of goods that the goods supplied must be of satisfactory quality. There are no universally applicable quality standards that each and every product must adhere to. However, the goods have to be up to the standards expected by a reasonable person or what he regards as satisfactory [Section 14(2A)].

Judgment of the Court in Bramhill v Edwards

It was held that the implied term of satisfactory quality was not breached.

The motor home was deemed to be of satisfactory quality by the Court of Appeal because a reasonable buyer would be aware that a significant number of vehicles of greater width than permitted were in use on the roads and that the authorities were turning a blind eye to that illegal use (to breaches of the width regulations). There was also evidence that the vehicle could be insured.

Furthermore, even if the vehicle had been in violation of Section 14(2A), Mr Edwards would have been able to use Section 14(2C) as a defense because the examination of the vehicle ought to have indicated that it was over-size. Section 14(2C) holds that a buyer may lose his right to complain where he decides to check the goods, but fails to spot an obvious defect. Although Bramhills had looked over the vehicle before buying it, they had not noticed the fact that its width was illegal.

List of references:


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