Law

Sale of Goods Act Important Terms and Definitions

Nature of the subject

Many sale of goods cases are decided by the application of the rules of general contract law. For instance, the rules as to whether there is a contract at all (offer and acceptance, consideration and so on) are basically the same for all contracts. There is, however, a body of rules which is peculiar to sale of goods transactions or which is applied by analogy to transactions like hire purchase or hire. One problem is to tell which questions are answered by contract law and which are answered by sales law.

Is the Sale of Goods Act a complete code?

In Re Wait (1927), Atkins LJ clearly took the view that, where a matter was dealt with by the Act, the treatment was intended to be exhaustive. He said: ‘the total sum of legal relations … arising out of the contract for the sale of goods may well be regarded as defined by the code.’ The question in that case was whether the buyer could obtain specific performance of the contract. Section 52 of the Sale of Goods Act says that a buyer may obtain specific performance of a contract for the sale of specific or ascertained goods. (These terms are explained below, para 1.6.3.) The Act does not expressly say that specific performance cannot be obtained where the goods are not specific or ascertained but Atkins LJ thought that s 52 should be treated as a complete statement of the circumstances in which specific performance should be granted for a contract of sale of goods.Click here about Boots.

Domestic and international sales

Most of the cases discussed in this part will concern domestic sales: that is, sales where the buyer, the seller and the goods are all present in England and Wales. Obviously, there are many international sales which have no connection at all with English law. However, there are many international sales which are governed by English law, either because English law is the law most closely connected with the transaction or because the parties have chosen English law as the governing law.

Commercial and consumer sales

The Sale of Goods Act 1893 was predominantly based on Chalmers’ careful reading of the 19th century cases on sales. These cases are almost entirely concerned with commercial transactions, particularly relatively small-scale commodity sales. Few consumer transactions, except perhaps sales of horses, figure in this body of case law. It is true that the 1893 Act has some provisions which only apply where the seller is selling in the course of a business, but these provisions do not discriminate according to whether the buyer is buying as a business or as a consumer.

Types of transaction

This section considers the different ways in which the act of supplying goods may take place.

Non-contractual supply

Usually, where goods are supplied there will be a contract between the supplier and the receiver of the goods. A contract is not essential. The most obvious case where there is no contract is where there is a gift. In English law, promises to make gifts in the future are not binding unless they are made under seal (for example, covenants in favor of charities) but a gift, once executed, will be effective to transfer ownership from donor to done provided that the appropriate form has been used. So, in principle, effective gifts of goods require physical handing over.

Sale of goods/sale of land

It follows that this is essentially a transaction in which one side promises to transfer the ownership of goods and the other pays the price in money. This, therefore, excludes cases where there is no money price and situations where what is sold is not goods but land or what is often called intangible property, that is, property interests which cannot be physically possessed such as shares, patents, copyrights and so on.Plz visit here for information about Tamilplay

Contracts for work and materials

Many contracts which are undoubtedly contracts of sale include an element of service. So, if I go to a tailor and buy a suit off the peg, the tailor may agree to raise one of the shoulders since one of my shoulders is higher than the other. The contract would still be one of sale. Conversely, if I take my car to the garage for a service, the garage may fit some new parts but such a transaction would not normally be regarded as a sale. In both these cases, the parties could, if they wished, divide the transaction up into two contracts, one of which would be a contract of sale and the other a contract of services but, in practice, this is not usually done.

Lastly Comment

The reason for this distinction arises from an ambiguity in the word ‘sale’ which may refer either to the contract between buyer and seller or to the transfer of ownership from seller to buyer which is the object of the agreement. In English law, it is possible in principle for ownership to pass from seller to buyer simply by agreement, without either delivery of the goods or payment of the price.

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