Glasbrook Brothers Ltd v Glamorgan County Council [1925] AC 270

Key point

  • Where a public authority confers a benefit beyond what was obligated under statute that is good consideration


  • During a miner’s strike, the public authority (C) agreed to station 70 policemen at D’s colliery in return for payment
  • After the strike was over, D refused to pay on the basis that police were under a duty to provide adequate policing so there was no consideration

Held (House of Lords by 3-2)

  • D is liable to pay under contract
  • The police had gone beyond their public duty and hence there was consideration

Viscount Cave LC

  • Where individuals desire services of special kind not within the obligations of the police, the police may lend their services for payment
  • Whether the protection of the colliery was necessary or is beyond the duty of the police is to be judged from the standards of a reasonable police authority
  • If it is not necessary, the police can request payment


  • The position in this case can be differentiated from Ward v Byham on the ground that here we are concerned with a public authority whereas in Ward v Byham we were concerned with a private individual
  • It would be wrong for a public authority to charge for what they are already funded by the public to do