Case name & citation: Re Moore & Co and Landauer & Co  2 KB 519
Court and jurisdiction: Court of Appeal, England and Wales
Year of the case: 1921
Area of law: Implied condition in a sale by description
What is the case about?
The basic rule under the classical law of contract is that performance must be exact and precise and the Courts have at times applied this requirement very strictly. The case of Moore & Co and Landauer & Co is a good example of this from the Sale of Goods Act.
Facts of the case (Re Moore & Co and Landauer & Co)
The claimants agreed to provide 3,000 tins of Australian canned fruit, which were to be packaged in cases of 30 tins each. When the goods were delivered, it was found that around half of the order had been packed in cases containing 24 tins.
Even though the correct quantity had been supplied (i.e., all 3,000 tins agreed), the defendants chose to reject the entire shipment.
Issue that was raised
Was this a sale by description?
Since tins were delivered in different amounts than those stated in the contract, could the contract be repudiated on this ground?
Judgment of the Court in Re Moore & Co and Landauer & Co
It was determined that this was a sale by description under Section 13 and that because the goods did not match the description, the defendants had the right to cancel the contract.
Even though the market value was not affected and there was no loss to the defendants, the Court of Appeal held that there was still a breach of Section 13 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979.
What does Section 13 say?
As per Section 13(1), where there is a contract for the sale of goods by description, there is an implied condition that the goods will correspond with the description.
Size, number, weight, ingredients, origin, and even how the goods are to be packaged may all be covered in the description of the goods. The buyer will be allowed to reject the goods if there is even the slightest deviation from the specifications. Because this shall breach a condition of the contract (that is goods must correspond with the description).
A different view
The ruling given in this case appears to be at odds with the widely accepted notion that the law should not get involved in unimportant details. In Reardon Smith Line Ltd v Yngvar Hansen-Tangen (1976), Lord Wilberforce questioned the correctness of Moore and Landauer’s decision and recommended that it should be re-evaluated by the House of Lords.
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