Bannerman v White – Case Summary

Bannerman v White

Court of Common Pleas

Citations: (1861) 10 Common Bench Reports (New Series) 844; 142 ER 685.


A buyer was in negotiations with a seller for the sale of hops by sample. The buyer asked the seller whether any sulphur had been used to treat the hops. He explained that he would not buy sulphur-treated hops. The seller replied that the hops were sulphur-free. The buyer bought a quantity of hops on the strength of this. Later, the buyer discovered that some of the hops were treated with sulphur. He had already mixed the sulphur-treated hops with untreated hops, so he could no longer separate them.

The buyer sought to repudiate the contract. The seller argued that the representation that the hops were sulphur-free was not a term of the contract.

  1. Was the representation a term of the contract?

The Court of Common Pleas held in favour of the buyer. The representation had become a condition of the contract, which entitled the buyer to repudiate it. This was because the buyer had made it clear that the matter was important. This must have been apparent to the seller.

This Case is Authority For…

If the representation appears objectively important to the contract, it is more likely to have become a term of the contract.