Parker v South Eastern Railway Company

Parker V South Eastern Railway Company

Court Case
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Parker v South Eastern Railway Company

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Parker v South Eastern Railway 2 CPD 416 is a famous English contract law case on exclusion clauses where the court held that an individual cannot escape a contractual term by failing to read the contract but that a party wanting to rely on an exclusion clause must take reasonable steps to bring it to the attention of the customer.


Mr Parker left a bag in the cloakroom of Charing Cross railway station, run by the South Eastern Railway Company. On depositing his bag and paying two pence he received a ticket. On the front it said "see back". On its back, it stated that the railway was excluded from liability for items worth £10 or more. Mr Parker failed to read the clause as he thought the ticket was only a receipt of payment. However, he admitted that he knew the ticket contained writing. Mr Parker's bag, which was worth more than £10, was lost. He sued the company. The question of law put to the court was whether the clause applied to Mr Parker. At trial the jury found for Mr Parker as it was reasonable for him not to read the ticket.


Divisional Court

Lord Coleridge CJ, Brett J and Lindley J decided in favour of Mr Parker, upholding the jury award. Lindley J remarked,

Court of Appeal

The majority of the Court of Appeal held there should be a retrial. They said that if Mr Parker knew of the conditions he would be bound. If he did not know, he would be bound if he was given the ticket in such a way as amounted to "reasonable...
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