Thomas Witter Ltd v TBP Industries

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Thomas Witter Ltd v TBP Industries
CourtHigh Court
Citation(s)[1996] 2 All ER 573

Thomas Witter Ltd v TBP Industries [1996] 2 All ER 573 is an English contract law case, concerning misrepresentation. Doubt has been cast in its decision as to availability of rescission by Floods of Queensferry Ltd v Shand Construction Ltd [1] and Government of Zanzibar v British Aerospace (Lancaster House) Ltd . [2]

English contract law Law of contracts in England and Wales

English contract law is a body of law regulating contracts in England and Wales. With its roots in the lex mercatoria and the activism of the judiciary during the industrial revolution, it shares a heritage with countries across the Commonwealth, and to a lesser extent the United States. It is also experiencing gradual change because of the UK's membership of the European Union and international organisations like Unidroit. Any agreement that is enforceable in court is a contract. Because a contract is a voluntary obligation, in contrast to paying compensation for a tort and restitution to reverse unjust enrichment, English law places a high value on ensuring people have truly consented to the deals that bind them in court.

<i>Government of Zanzibar v British Aerospace (Lancaster House) Ltd</i>

Government of Zanzibar v British Aerospace Ltd [2000] EWHC 221 (Comm) is an English contract law case, concerning misrepresentation.



In December 1989, D, a conglomerate negotiated the sale of a carpet company to P. In the course of so doing D negligently misrepresented that there was a special one off expense of GBP 120,000 in accounts produced, and that those accounts spread the bi-annual expense of producing pattern books over two years instead of immediately writing it off. The sale contract included a provision stating that P acknowledged it had not been induced to enter into the agreement by any representation or warranty, and a contractual limitation clause that D was not liable for a breach of the agreement unless written notice was given by January 1, 1992. When P sued for negligent misrepresentation, D sought to rely on those two contractual provisions.


Jacob J held rescission was no longer available where it was impossible to restore the parties to their positions before the contract. He referred to the Solicitor General while the Act was being passed, however, saying that damages could be awarded where rescission was no longer available, and so under s 2(2) the right to damages did not depend on the right to rescission - it was only necessary that the right to rescind had existed in the past - even if there was a bar now.

See also


  1. [2000] BLR 81
  2. [2000] 1 WLR 2333

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