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Chaplin v Hicks [1911] 2 KB 786 Court of Appeal

The claimant was an actress. She entered a beauty contest organised by Hicks. Hicks was a famous actor and theatre manager and advertised the contest in a newspaper. The readers of the newspaper were to vote and the top 50 would be invited to an interview where 12 would be selected for employment. The claimant got through to final 50 but did not receive her invitation for interview until it was too late to attend. She brought an action based on her loss of a chance of gaining employment. She was awarded £100 assessed by the jury. Hicks appealed contending that the damages were speculative in nature and incapable of assessment.


The appeal was dismissed. The claimant was entitled to recover damages for her loss of a chance of gaining employment. She did not have to demonstrate that she would have been successful at interview.

Vaughan Williams LJ:

the fact that damages cannot be assessed with certainty does not relieve the wrongdoer of the necessity of paying damages for his breach of contract."
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