A Case Comment on Victoria Laundry Ltd v. Newman Industries Ltd [1949] 2 KB 528​

Aarav Srejan Prasad and Ishika Jain
School of Law, Christ (Deemed to be University), India.

Volume III, Issue VI, 2020

The case Victoria Laundry Ltd v Newman Industries Ltd was decided in 1949 for the King’s Bench by the Court of Appeals. The subject matter of this case revolved around reasonable foreseeability and remoteness of damage. This case added onto the consequential damages rule laid down in the Hadley judgment by clarifying it by resolving a significant lacuna in it.

Victoria Laundry (plaintiff) had entered into a contract with Newman Industries (defendant) to build and deliver a large boiler with a heavy steaming capacity of 8000lbs an hour. As per the contract, the boiler had to be delivered in early June. The plaintiff had explicitly told the defendant regarding the need for the boiler being very urgent and wanted to use it immediately after delivery. The delivery was made twenty (20) weeks late even after knowing about the boiler’s urgent need. Due to this delay, the plaintiff incurred significant losses in profits and many profitable contracts. Victoria Laundry then sued Newman Industries for the losses incurred by them. Newman Industries were charged both under ordinary as well as special damages. The Trial Court held that the defendant was liable, relying on the first rule of the remoteness of damage laid down in the case of Hadley v Baxendale[1]. The Court of Appeals later overruled this judgment for the King’s Bench, which held that the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s damages.

[1] Hadley v. Baxendale [1854] EWHC J70

DOI: http://doi.one/10.1732/IJLMH.25232