Parker v South Eastern Railway (1877) 2 CPD 416

Key point

  • The test for whether a term is incorporated by notice is whether reasonable notice was given by the defendant


  • C deposited a bag in the cloakroom of D’s station
  • C received a ticket which said ‘see back’ on its face; on the back were conditions including limited liability for any item up to £10
  • C claimed for damages against D amounting to £24 after his bag was misplaced
  • The judge directed the jury to consider whether C was actually aware of the condition on the back and whether he ought to have been aware

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Case remitted back to trial as the judge had directed the jury wrongly
  • The correct question is whether D had given reasonable notice

Mellish LJ

  • The railway company must be entitled to assumptions respecting the person who deposits luggage with them, that he can read and pays attention to what he is reasonably expected to
  • If the railway company has brought sufficient notice to the conditions to people in general, a particular plaintiff ought not to be in a better position due to his exceptional ignorance
  • Test: “whether the railway company did what was reasonably sufficient to give the plaintiff notice of the condition”