R v Barnard – Case Summary

R v Barnard


Citations: (1837) 7 Carrington and Payne 784; (1837) 173 ER 342.


The defendant went into a shop in Oxford wearing a gown which indicated that he was a member of the University. In fact, he was not a member. He did not explicitly say he that was a member of the University, but ordered goods at a discounted price which was only available to members. The defendant was charged with false pretences, a precursor to the modern fraud offence.

  1. Can a defendant make a false representation by conduct alone?

The court upheld the defendant’s conviction. Wearing the gown sufficiently represented that he was a member of the University, when he was not.

This Case is Authority For…

A representation can be made purely by conduct: no words need to be spoken.


This case was decided prior to the enactment of the Fraud Act 2006. However, it is likely still of persuasive value in interpreting what is meant by a ‘representation’ under the statutory offence.