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Published: Wed, 07 Mar 2018

Cutler v Wandsworth Stadium Ltd [1949] AC 398

Breach of statutory duty; whether bookmaker has right of action under the Betting and Lotteries Act 1934


Mr Cutler was a bookmaker who carried on his business at a greyhound track occupied by the respondents. He claimed that as occupiers of a licensed racing track they were in breach of their statutory obligation under s11(2)(b) Betting and Lotteries Act 1934 for failing to provide him with an appropriate space on the track where he could conveniently conduct his business. He sought an injunction preventing them from denying him access to the track on race days.


The respondents were in breach of their statutory duty and Mr Cutler claimed that s11 of the 1934 Act created a cause of action to those in the specific class it was designed to protect. The obligations imposed by s11 were designed primarily to protect bookmakers and Mr Cutler was, therefore, a member of the particular class the duty was intended to protect and was entitled to seek a remedy. The respondents contended Mr Cutler had no right of action for breach of statutory duty.


Mr Cutler had no cause of action. The whole of a statute must be examined when considering whether breach of a statutory duty creates an individual right of action. The primary purpose of the statute was to regulate the conduct of betting at racecourses. Where the statute provides for specific remedies for breach, then generally performance cannot be enforced in any other manner, unless it is designed to protect a particular class of person who may suffer injury as a result of its contravention. As the primary purpose of the 1934 Act was to regulate racecourses, no individual right of action lay for a bookmaker who suffered harm because of a breach of statutory duty.

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