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McCutheon v David MacBrayne Ltd – 1964

Legal Case Summary

McCutheon v David MacBrayne Ltd [1964] 1 WLR 125

Notice of term excluding liability for loss at sea; whether knowledge of term established


McCutheon handed over his vehicle to a shipping company for transportation from the Hebrides islands to the mainland. The car was destroyed when the ship sank due to the shipping company’s carelessness. The company generally provided customers with a risk note that released them from responsibility for losses caused by their own neglect. McCutheon had signed these notes before but had never read the details. In this instance, no risk note was given and McCutheon attempted to recoup the cost of his car.

Issue and Outcome:

The company argued that the risk note, which included an exclusion clause, was part of the oral contract due to previous business dealings between the parties. They also claimed that the terms of the carriage were clearly displayed in their offices and that McCutheon should have been aware of them since he had signed similar notes in the past. McCutheon argued that he had never read the terms on previous occasions and that the clause could not be applied to the current oral contract. The court ultimately ruled in favor of McCutheon, stating that the clause had not been successfully incorporated into the contract. A previous course of dealing can only bind a party to a term if they have knowledge of it and have agreed to it.

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Answering problem questions in the University of London LLB programme requires a clear understanding of legal principles, good analytical skills and the ability to apply the law to a given set of facts. Here are some tips to help you answer problem questions effectively:

  1. Read the question carefully: Make sure you understand what the question is asking before you begin writing.
  2. Identify the legal issues: Identify the legal issues raised by the facts and the relevant laws that apply to those issues.
  3. Analyze the facts: Analyze the facts presented in the question, focusing on the details that are relevant to the legal issues.
  4. Apply the law: Apply the relevant laws to the facts, making sure to consider all relevant legal principles and cases.
  5. Structure your answer: Use a clear and well-structured approach, starting with an introduction that outlines the main legal issues, followed by a discussion of the relevant laws and a conclusion that summarizes your analysis and sets out your conclusion.
  6. Use relevant cases and statutes: Cite relevant cases and statutes to support your analysis and help illustrate the legal principles you are discussing.
  7. Be concise: Be concise and to the point, focusing on the key issues and avoiding unnecessary detail.
  8. Proofread: Proofread your answer carefully to make sure it is error-free and clear.
  9. Time management: Make sure you manage your time effectively, leaving enough time to review your answer and make any necessary corrections.

By following these tips, you should be able to answer problem questions in the University of London LLB programme effectively and with confidence. Good luck!

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