Hadley v Baxendale [1854]

Hadley & Anor v Baxendale & Ors [1854] EWHC J70 is a landmark case in English contract law that established the principle of consequential damages, also known as special damages.

In 1854, the crankshaft of the flour mill broke, causing the mill to shut down. The owners of the mill contacted Baxendale & Ors to transport the broken crankshaft to a manufacturer for a replacement to be made. Baxendale & Ors were informed that the crankshaft was required urgently to restore the mill's operations, and the owners of the mill requested that Baxendale & Ors make every effort to deliver the part quickly.

Baxendale & Ors collected the broken crankshaft and promised to deliver it to the manufacturer as soon as possible. However, due to a delay on their part, they did not deliver the part to the manufacturer for several days. This delay caused the mill to remain shut down, and Hadley & Anor suffered significant losses as a result.

Hadley & Anor sued Baxendale & Ors for the losses they suffered due to the delay. Baxendale & Ors argued that they could not be held liable for the losses because they were not informed of the specific circumstances of the case, namely, that the mill would be shut down until the replacement part arrived.

The court ruled in favour of Hadley & Anor, establishing the principle of consequential damages. The court held that Baxendale & Ors should have known that the delay in delivering the crankshaft would result in the mill remaining shut down and causing the owners to suffer significant losses. Therefore, Baxendale & Ors were liable for the consequential losses that resulted from their delay in delivering the crankshaft.

The ruling in Hadley & Anor v Baxendale & Ors established the principle that when a breach of contract occurs, the party who breaches the contract is liable for any losses that were reasonably foreseeable at the time of the contract, including any consequential or special losses that result from the breach.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.