Published: Wed, 07 Mar 2018
Hardwick Game Farm v Suffolk Agricultural Poultry Producers Association  2 AC 31
Whether implied statutory warranty as to suitability for purpose applies
Hardwick Game Farm (HGF) purchased compounded meals from Suffolk Agricultural Poultry Producers Association (SAPPA) to feed their pheasants. Many of the birds died because the feed contained toxins. SAPPA had purchased the supplies from two wholesalers under oral contracts. Their normal course of dealing was evidenced by sales notes containing a clause stating the buyer bore responsibility for latent defects. The wholesalers had purchased the supplies from two parties on their standard terms, which purported to exclude liability for latent defects. HGF recovered damages from SAPPA. SAPPA sought indemnity from their suppliers, who in turn sought indemnity from theirs.
SAPPA argued their supplier was liable for breach of the implied term of s14 Sale of Goods Act 1893 and the implied warranty of s2(2) Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act 1926 that the goods were fit for the purpose for which they were supplied. They contended these implied statutory obligations could not be excluded. The third parties sought to rely on the clauses which, they claimed, absolved them for liability for latent defects. They argued pheasants were not poultry under the 1926 Act and so the statute did not apply. The third parties in turn sought an indemnity from their supplier, repeating SAPPA’s allegations regarding breach of the implied statutory terms.
SAPPA recovered damages. Where goods are supplied for a particular purpose, the statutory obligations apply and cannot be excluded in the contract. Membership of the same trade association was insufficient to rebut the presumption that buyers may rely on the skill of sellers in warranting goods are of merchantable quality. Although pheasants were not poultry for the purposes of the 1926 Act, the warranty still applied and damages were recoverable for harm suffered to pheasants.
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