Howe v Teefy

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Citation: Howe v Teefy (1927) 27 SR (NSW) 301

This information can be found in the Casebook: Paterson, Robertson & Duke, Contract: Cases and Materials (Lawbook Co, 11th ed, 2009), p. 649-50 [26.125]


Background facts

  • Plaintiff [Teefy] was leasing a horse off the Defendant [Howe] for the purposes of racing it and generally making money off it (through bets etc).
  • The Defendant randomly took the horse back.
  • The Plaintiff sued for damages, including the loss of chance (to win money through races, bets, selling information on the horse to other gamblers etc)

Legal issues


  • The agreement was made in place to give the Plaintiff a chance of making money off the horse.
  • He was deprived of that chance.
  • The presence of contingencies (i.e. whether the horse would win races, whether the Plaintiff would win bets etc) do not render damages incapable of assessment. The value of the chance can still be assessed.
    • "The presence of contingencies...does not render the damages incapable of assessment though it may make the calculation of the pecuniary loss sustained incapable of being carried out with certainty or precision[1]."
  • "if a plaintiff has been deprived of something which has a monetary value, a jury is not relieved from the duty of assessing the loss merely because the calculation is a difficult one or because the circumstances do not admit of the damages being assessed with certainty[2]."
  • In this case, it is clear that the Plaintiff was deprived of something of value.
  • Notice, the calculation "was not how much he would probably have made...but how much his chance of making that profit...was worth in money[3]."


  1. (1927) 27 SR (NSW) 301, 306
  2. (1927) 27 SR (NSW) 301, 306
  3. (1927) 27 SR (NSW) 307, 306
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