Wallis Son and Wells v Pratt and Haynes [1911] AC 394


Wallis Son and Wells v Pratt and Haynes [1911] AC 394 is an English Contract Law case concerning the breach of condition and warranty.


The appellants bought the seeds known as “common English sainfoin” from the respondents for the resale purposes. The contract established between the parties contained a clause stating: “sellers give no warranty expressed or implied as to growth, description or any other matters.”

As it turned out later, the seeds, that the respondents delivered, were not “common English sainfoin”.However, believing that the seeds were the ones they had ordered, the appellants accepted the product. Afterwards, they sold the seeds to the third party and as the seeds were of a different type they became obliged to pay the damages. Consequently, the appellants brought an action against the respondents, the very first sellers, claiming for the recovery of the damages. 


Did the delivery of the different kind of seeds amount to the breach of condition or the breach of warranty?


The House of Lords entered the judgement for the plaintiffs, the purchasers. Their Lordships applied section 11 of Sale of Goods Act 1893. Furthermore, they approved of the dictum of Fletcher Moulton L.J, a dissenting judge of the case at Court of Appeal. Additionally, Lord Loreburn L.C held that delivering the different kind of seed amounted to the breach of condition. However, since the buyers accepted the product as it was and resold it later, they could not exercise the right of repudiating the contract. Instead, they could only treat the mentioned breach of condition as a breach of warranty. In other words, they could only claim for the damages. 

Cited: Varley v Whipp [1900] 1 Q.B. 513

References: [1910] 2 K.B. 1003, [1910] 6 WLUK 69

Read our notes on Conditions and Warranties for more information. 

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