Partridge v Crittenden – Case Summary

Partridge v Crittenden

High Court

Citations: [1968] 1 WLR 1204; [1968] 2 All ER 421; (1968) 132 JP 367; (1968) 112 SJ 582; [1968] CLY 115.


The defendant put out a newspaper advert stating that he was selling his bramblefinch chickens for 25s each. Someone saw the advert, and wrote to the defendant asking for one hen and enclosing 25s in the envelope. The hen was delivered to the buyer a short while later.

The defendant was then charged with unlawfully offering a bird scheduled under the Protection of Birds Act 1954 for sale. He argued that his advert was merely an invitation to treat, not an offer, so he was not guilty of this offence.

  1. Was the advertisement an offer or an invitation to treat?

The High Court held in favour of the defendant. The advert was an invitation to treat, so he was not guilty of the offence.

This Case is Authority For…

Advertisements are usually invitations to treat, not offers.


Lord Parker CJ noted that if adverts were routinely treated as offers, it would lead to the conclusion that people advertising goods for sale were holding themselves out as being able to supply an unlimited quantity to anyone who saw the advert. This would not make sense.