George and Wife v Skivington

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Citation: George and Wife v Skivington (1869) LR 5 Ex 1

This information can be found in the Textbook: Prue Vines, Law and Justice in Australia: Foundations of the Legal System, (2nd ed, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 369-71.


Background facts

  • The Defendant [Skivington] sold a hair product to the Plaintiff [George].
  • The Defendant was aware that it was for the wife.
  • The product turned out to be faulty and caused injury.

Legal issues


Kelly CB:

  • The Defendant knew that the hair product was meant for the wife.
  • His duty extends not only to the purchaser but to the person for whom he knew the product was intended.
  • The Defendant is without question liable in an 'action on the case' for unskilfulness and negligence in the manufacture of the product.

Pigott B:

  • The wife cannot contract for herself alone, but that is no reason why the Defendant’s duty should stop short of her.
  • If a salesperson sold a drug with no' knowledge for whom it was intended and it caused harm, it may have been a different case.
  • However, here, there is an "express allegation that the defendant knew the purpose for which, and the person for whom, this compound was bought".

Cleasby B:

  • In Langridge v Levy, the main legal principle which came out was that: although no person can sue on a contract except the person with whom the contract is made, a vendor who is guilty of fraud is liable to whomsoever "has been injured by that fraud, although not one of the parties to the original contract, provided at least that his use of the article was contemplated by the vendor".
  • Substitute the word 'negligence' for 'fraud', and this case is exactly the same as Langridge v Levy. Its close enough to have the same decision.
  • Defendant is liable.


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