Pharmaceutical Society Of Great Britain Essay

4695 Words Nov 30th, 2014 19 Pages
Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots [1953] 1 QB 401 Court of Appeal

Boots introduced the then new self service system into their shops whereby customers would pick up goods from the shelf put them in their basket and then take them to the cash till to pay. The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain brought an action to determine the legality of the system with regard to the sale of pharmaceutical products which were required by law to be sold in the presence of a pharmacist. The court thus needed to determine where the contract came into existence.


Goods on the shelf constitute an invitation to treat not an offer. A customer takes the goods to the till and makes an offer to purchase. The shop assistant then chooses
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The assistant in 999 times out of 1,000 says "That is all right", and the money passes and the transaction is completed.... in the case of the ordinary shop, although goods are displayed and it is intended that customers should go and choose what they want, the contract is not completed until, the customer having indicated the articles which he needs, the shop-keeper or someone on his behalf accepts that offer. Then the contract is completed.'

His Lordship concluded that the Boots pharmacy layout ought to be treated in the same way. Were it otherwise, 'once an article has been placed in the receptacle the customer himself is bound and he would have no right without paying for the first article to substitute an article which he saw later of the same kind and which he perhaps preferred.'

The approach of Boots provides 'a convenient method of enabling customers to see what there is and choose and possibly put back and substitute articles which they wish to have and then go up to the cashier and offer to buy what they have so far chosen.'

As a result, the case failed because the contract was concluded at the checkout where there was appropriate supervision.
Lord Justice Birkett

Lord Justice Birkett agreed with Lord Justice Somervill and with the reasoning of the Lord Chief Justice at trial.
Lord Justice Romer

Lord Justice Romer agreed with Lord Justices Somervill and Birkett. His Lordship noted that if the plaintiff's argument succeeded, 'if a person picked up an

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