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Ireland v Livingston (1872)

Facts

  • Livingston (principal) asked Ireland (agent) to procure 500 (+/- 50 tons) of sugar and have it shipped to any of a number of possible destinations in the UK
  • In Ireland’s market (Mauritius), procuring 500 tons was next to impossible
  • Ireland shipped 400 tons to Livingston, and Livingston rejected them

Issue

  • Was Livingston bound to accept the sugar?

Decision

  • Yes

Reasoning

  • Ireland, within his actual authority, was authorised to apply a reasonable interpretation to his agency agreement
  • As 500 tons was unavailable, it was reasonable to assume that 400 tons would be acceptable
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