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Thompson v London, Midland and Scottish Railway

Legal Case Summary

Thompson v London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company [1903] 1 KB 41

Accident to railway passenger; passenger unable to read; effect of exclusion clause


Thompson was unable to read and she travelled on a train with her daughter and niece. On the back of her ticket it was printed that the tickets were issued subject to the terms outlined in the company’s time tables. The time tables contained a clause purporting to exclude liability for any injuries to passengers, howsoever caused. Thompson slipped and sustained injuries as a result of the company’s negligence, and claimed damages.


The company contended they had taken reasonable steps to bring the exclusion clause to the attention of their customers, as the contract terms were clearly referenced on the tickets. They argued the taking of the ticket with the knowledge that terms and conditions applied amount to an acceptance of those terms, and an agreement to be bound by them. Thompson contended she had not read the terms because she was unable to read and the terms were difficult to obtain because they were contained within a time table which customers had to purchase separately. She also argued that the condition was unusual and, as such, special steps should have been taken to draw it to her attention.

Decision / Outcome

Thompson was unsuccessful in her claim. It was irrelevant that she was unable to read. The company had taken sufficient steps to bring the terms to customers’ attention in clear and legible print. Accepting the ticket for travel constituted acceptance of the terms of travel, and the reference to the time tables amounted to adequate notice of the existence of the terms and of their contents.

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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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