Dunlop v Lambert [1839]

Dunlop v Lambert [1839] 6 Cl & F 600; 7 ER 824 is a notable shipping case in the context of commercial law, establishing an exception to the general rule concerning damages in contracts. The case involved a situation where goods were lost at sea after the Bill of Lading had been delivered to the customer by the supplier. The critical element was that, at the time of the breach of contract by the carrier, the supplier had already passed on ownership of the goods to the customer.

In essence, the key legal principle derived from this case is the recognition of a specific exception to the general rule regarding damages. The exception is based on the concept that the parties involved in the contract, in this case, the supplier and the carrier, foresaw or contemplated that the supplier was entering into the contract not only for their own benefit but also for the benefit of the customer. The intention was that, in the event of a breach of contract by the carrier, the supplier should be entitled to recover losses suffered by the customer.

This exception acknowledges the commercial reality that in certain contractual arrangements, one party may act not only in their own interest but also for the benefit of third parties. This case established that in such situations, the party originally contracting with the service provider could seek damages on behalf of the ultimate beneficiary, who may have suffered losses due to the breach of contract.
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