Blakemore v Bellamy

Date

19 May 1982

Legislation

Fair Trading Act 1973, s.23
Trade Descriptions Act 1968, s.1(1)

Keywords

meaning of 'business'; advertisements; meaning of 'trade'

Counsel

Brian P Jubb, Gordon Bebb

Solicitors

Alan Blakemore, Croydon for the plaintiff; Coffey, Whitty & Co, Thornton Heath for the defendant.

Judge

Donadson LJ and Webster J.

Court

High Court (Queen's Bench Division).

Reported

[1983] RTR 303.

Summary

Bellamy was employed full time as a postman, but bought and sold cars as a hobby. He made no significant profits from his hobby and advertised his cars in the Croydon Advertiser, a local paper. None of the advertisements he published made it clear that his cars were sold in the course of a business.

He was tried on 18 informations alleging contraventions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 and the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 each of which stated that the activity was made in the 'course of business'. The justices dismissed the informations and accepted that the activities were only a hobby.

Decision:

On appeal the court concluded that:

  • the justices had not misdirected themselves as to the meaning of the words "trade or business" which should be given their ordinary meanings;
  • the justices decision in this case was in no way perverse; and
  • there was evidence which entitled them to find on the facts that the defendant was not carrying on a trade or business, albeit it might well have been the case that a different bench might have come to a different conclusion on the same facts.

Accordingly the appeal was dismissed. This decision is consistent with modern trends emphasising the narrow scope of the review adopted by the appeal courts when considering a fact-based decision of a lower court. See also the decision of the House of Lords on this issue in the case of Davies v Sumner (see [1984] 1 WLR 1301).


Reviewed 30 November 2008