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Mendelssohn v Normand Ltd [1970] 1 QB 177

Incorporation of exclusion clause by notice or sign

Facts

The Claimant parked in a garage owned and operated by the Defendant. There was a notice board in the car park which stipulated that the Defendant would ‘accept no liability for any loss of damage sustained by the vehicle, its accessories or contents howsoever caused’. This board was not obvious for drivers who drove into the car park but was obvious when the driver would exit the vehicle and go to pay for the parking. In addition, the Claimant had previously parked in the same garage. In this instance, an employee of the Defendant insisted that the Claimant should leave his car unlocked and assured the Claimant that he would lock it. However, valuables were subsequently stolen from the claimant’s car.

Issue

The issue in this case was whether an exclusion clause could be successfully incorporated into a contract by way of a notice board if the notice board was not visible when a client was entering the car park, but was visible at the end when they went to pay for parking.

Held

The court held in favour of the Claimant, observing that the Defendant had not done enough to bring the notice to the attention of his customers so as to successfully incorporate it into a contract with the Claimant.

“He may have seen the notice, but he had never read it. Such a notice is not imported into the contract unless it is brought home to the party so prominently that he must be taken to have known of it and agreed with it.” (Lord Denning)


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