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Home > Collections & Resources > Transcripts > Murray v. North British Oil & Candle Co. Ltd. 1866


Action against the North British Oil & Candle Co.


At the Northumberland Assizes, the Court was occupied the greater part of the last two days in trying the case of Murray and Another v The North British Oil and Candle Company. This was an action for breach of contract, in which the plaintiffs, Messrs, Murray & McFadyan, oil merchants, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, sued the North British Oil and Candle Company for non-fulfilment of a contract in which they undertook to supply the plaintiffs with six hundred casks of burning oil, at a price agreed upon. The action was tried by Mr Justice Mellor and a special jury, the counsel in the case being the Hon A Liddell QC and Mr Udall for the plaintiffs – Mr Manisty QC and Mr Qusin appearing for the defendants.

In the course of the evidence adduced it appeared that the company in question was formed in May last at Lanark. In the month of August they agreed to supply the plaintiffs with oil of certain samples and stated prices, subject to references. On the 30th August the plaintiffs sent a letter accepting the offer for second and third qualities at the stipulated prices, and requested that 150 casks per month should be sent - the first delivery to be in November. They gave certain references, which the plaintiffs alleged were quite satisfactory, but the defendants afterwards repudiated the contract, and assigned as a reason that those references were not satisfactory. It appeared, however, that the price of oil rose in the market 2d per gallon between the date of the offer being made and the 6th Sept. The plaintiff considered he was entitled to recover, and brought his action accordingly. Evidence having been heard on both sides, and the learned counsel having addressed the Court each for their respective clients, his Lordship summed up the case to the jury. They would have to consider, he said, whether the references were accepted; whether the contract was concluded; and what damages would have to be given. Under any circumstances, they must say what the amount of damages must be, and he would leave it to the plaintiffs to move for them in a superior Court. The jury, after carefully considering all the facts of the case, returned a verdict to the effect that the references given by the plaintiffs were not satisfactory, that the contract was opened, and that in effect the verdict must be for the defendants, with leave for the plaintiffs to move the Court above to grant £320 damages.

The Glasgow Herald 1st March 1866


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