LAWCOMM 442 - Personal Property LN.docx-...
LAWCOMM_442_-_Personal_Property_LN.docx-Don Lye 171346040 LAWPUBL 442: PERSONAL
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LAWCOMM 442 - Personal Property LN.docx-Don Lye 17...
LAWCOMM_442_-_Personal_Property_LN.docx-Don Lye 171346040 LAWPUBL 442: PERSONAL
LAWCOMM 442 - Personal Property LN....
LAWCOMM_442_-_Personal_Property_LN.docx-Don Lye 171346040 LAWPUBL 442: PERSONAL
Page 64
Don Lye
Bailee has the duty to take care of the goods during the term of the bailment.
However, bailee also has the duty to deliver up the goods to the bailor when the term of
bailment ends.
If the bailee fails to do so, will be held liable on the same terms as deviation – i.e. strictly
E.g. goods are delivered late.
If goods are damaged during the period of delay, the bailee effectively becomes the
insurer of the goods and is strictly liable for any loss/damage irrespective of fault.
Mitchell v Ealing London BC
[1979] QB 1
Plaintiffs were squatters who entered empty property owned by the local authority.
Squatters were evicted and their property removed.
Local authority agreed to look after their property for a period of time until plaintiff arranged
alternative premises to which goods can be delivered – gratuitous bailment by local authority.
Local authority placed the property to a lock-up garage on a housing estate.
Plaintiff made a reasonable demand to deliver up – requested return of goods and understanding
was the husband would go to the lock up garage and they could take the property away (what is
reasonable depends on the context).
Local authority makes a mistake and does not turn up.
On the second appointment, plaintiff discovered most of goods were stolen.
Plaintiff bailor sues for loss.
In failing to keep first appointment, the council had not complied with reasonable demand
for delivery and from then on, effectively became the insurer.
Judge seems to determine that on the balance of probabilities, the burglary happened
between the first and second appointment – post-deviation.
O’Connor J
“broadly, it is well recognised that a gratuitous bailee … is bound to take reasonable care
of the goods bailed and to deliver them up when an unequivocal demand is made. If the
bailee is unable to deliver the goods he is liable for their value unless he can show that
they have been lost without negligence or default on his part”.
Finds that there was no negligence in storing the goods.
“there was no negligence on the part of the defendants in storing the contents of
the flat in the lock-up garage. Equally, there is no blame to be attached to them for
not mounting a guard upon the place, which was suggested, and the responsibility
for the fact that thieves broke in and helped themselves to the contents of the
garage cannot be laid at the door of the defendants, unless it be that they were no
longer gratuitous bailees [deviating from the terms of bailment] at the relevant
“The plaintiff's case on that topic is that a lawful and unequivocal demand
and an
arrangement for the delivery of the goods having been made on December 17, the
defendants were bound to take reasonable care to comply with it; that, by sending their
man to the wrong place, they acted negligently; that from that moment onwards they
were holding the goods no longer
as gratuitous bailees
but at their peril, and that, unless

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