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Cundy v Lindsey (1878) 3 App Cas 459


A rogue, Blenkarn, hired a room at 37 Wood street, Cheapside. This was in the same street that a highly reputable firm called Blenkiron & Son traded. The rogue ordered a quantity of handkerchiefs from claimant disguising the signature to appear as Blenkiron. The goods were dispatched to Blenkiron & co 37, Wood street but payment failed. Blenkarn sold a quantity the handkerchiefs on to the defendant who purchased them in good faith and sold them on in the course of their trade. The claimants brought an action based in the tort of conversion to recover the value of the handkerchiefs. The success of the action depended upon the contract between the Blenkarn and the claimant being void for mistake. If the contract was void, title in the goods would not pass to the rogue so he would have no title to pass onto the defendants. Ownership of the goods would remain with the claimant.

Held: The contract was void for unilateral mistake as the claimant was able to demonstrate an identifiable existing business with whom they intended to contract with.

Back to lecture outline on Mistake in Contract Law