Bannerman v White – 1861

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Bannerman v White (1861) 10 CB NS 844

Affirms that where a representee expressly informs a representor of the significance of their representation to the contract, the representation is likely to be viewed as amounting to a contractually binding term.


The claimant, Bannerman, formed a contract with the defendant, White, regarding the purchase of hops, intending to use them to produce beer. The claimant specifically enquired as to whether the hops had received a sulphur treatment as it is only possible to make usable beer from hops that have not received this treatment. Furthermore, the claimant expressly stated that he would be unwilling to buy the hops if they had been treated. The defendant assured the claimant that the hops were untreated, however in fact the hops had received sulphur treatment and were subsequently useless to the claimant; thus Bannerman brought an action against White for damages, contending that the statement regarding treatment ought be viewed as a contractual term which White had thus breached.


Whether the defendant’s assurance regarding whether the hops had received a Sulphur treatment constituted a representation or a contractually enforceable term.


The Court found for the claimant, viewing that the matter of whether the hops had received Sulphur treatment was indeed a contractual term rather than a mere representation. The Court placed particular emphasis on the fact that the claimant had communicated the significance and consequence of the treatment to the defendant, meaning they were reasonably aware of its importance and that the claimant was only contracting on these grounds.

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