L’Estrange v Graucob – 1934

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L’Estrange v E. Graucob Ltd [1934] 2 KB 394

Affirmed that the clauses of a written contract are binding on the signatories, even where a party is unaware of the contract’s full contents.

Facts

The claimant, L’Estrange, contracted to purchase a slot machine for cigarettes from the defendant, Graucob, and the agreement included an express clause stating ‘This agreement contains all the terms and conditions under which I agree to purchase the machine specified above and any express or implied condition, statement, or warranty, statutory or otherwise not stated herein is hereby excluded’. The machine proved to be faulty and the claimant thus brought an action against the defendant, alleging that the machine breached the Sale of Goods Act by not being of merchantable quality. The defendant asserted that the statute was made irrelevant by the express clause, and that he was not in breach of the agreement they had made. The claimant responded she had been unaware of the clause as she had not properly read the agreement and it ought not apply.

Issue

Whether the clause excluding all terms not stated in the contract should be deemed effective and binding.

Held

The Court of Appeal found for the defendant, determining that the express provisions of the contract were binding and effectively excluded the relevance of statutory sales provisions. Furthermore, the fact that the claimant had not properly read the contract did not impact its validity, as in signing the contract she consented to be bound by its contents. Significantly this case emphasizes the Court’s respect for sanctity of contract.

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