Carlill Vs Carbolic Smoke Ball Company[1892] EWCA Civ 1, [1893]1 QB 256



Lindley LJ,

Bowen LJ

And AL Smith LJ



This case looks at whether as a promoting contrivance (for example the guarantee to pay 100£ to anybody contracting flu while utilizing the Carbolic Smoke Ball) can be viewed as an express legally binding guarantee to pay.


Lindley, L.J., in the interest of the Court of Appeals, takes note of that the primary issue close by is whether the language in Defendant’s commercial, with respect to the 100£ prize, was intended to be an express guarantee or, rather, a business puff, which had no significance at all.


In this famous case, the defendant Carbolic smoke company made a product called a smoke ball, which they claim to cure influenza and some other diseases. The company advertises its product in some newspaper on November 13, 1891, claiming that they would pay £100 to anyone who after using their product according to the printed directions supplied by each ball gets sick with influenza or, any disease caused by taking cold. They even deposited £1000 with the Alliance Bank, Regent Street, showing their sincerity in the matter. The plaintiff Louisa Carlill, trusted in the exactness of the announcement made in the notice concerning the adequacy of the smoke ball in instances of flu and bought one packet and utilized as instructed however after certain days she had an assault of flu. Therefore, her husband wrote a letter on her behalf to the carbolic smoke company asking £100 which was promised in the newspaper. The lawyer representing Louisa Carlill argued the reliance of Louisa and the advertisement, so it was a contract between the company and the company ought to pay her. The lawyer representing the company argued that there was no serious contract between the parties.



Smith v Hughes (1871) LR 6 QB 597

Brogden v Metropolitan Rly Co (1876-77). LR 2 App Cas 666



On request, the litigant’s case was that there was no coupling agreement between the gatherings. The respondent company had no methods for checking the ball, or of building up whether the offended party had in reality utilized the ball as coordinated. They additionally said that the offended party had not provided any consideration and that just doing a demonstration in private (for example adhering to guidelines) would not be sufficient. They contended, in the other option, that if the court saw there as an agreement, that agreement was close to a ‘wagering agreement’ in which obligation was simply decided on one issue – regardless of whether the offended party got flu or not – in which case it would be void, or that on the off chance that it was a protection strategy that it was ‘awful’ in light of the fact that it depended on whether there would be an event of a dubious occasion.

However, the court did not consider that the ‘wager’ or ‘insurance’ arguments were valid.



The Court rejected the defendant’s appeal and ordered them to pay £100 to Louisa Carlill

The three judges gave the following reasons:

(1) That the advertisement in the newspaper was a unilateral offer to the entire world. So, anyone could accept that offer.

(2) The use of smoke balls as instructed constituted acceptance of the offer.

(3) That buying or only utilizing the smoke ball comprised good consideration, since it was a particular disservice brought about at the command of the organization and, besides, more individuals purchasing smoke balls by depending on the advert was a reasonable advantage to Carbolic.

(4) That the company showed reasonable intention to be legally binding by depositing £1000 in the bank

The judgments of the court were as follows.

Lord Justice Lindley

He excused the appeal. He, giving his decision first and reasons later, disclosed his judgment offering an explanation to all charges set up by the respondent’s guidance and maintaining the lower court’s choice. A portion which makes a quick work of the protection and betting agreement that was managed in the Queen’s Bench. Be that as it may, there is likewise another view to this point which Judge Lindley suitably attests: shouldn’t something be said about the individual who puts himself/herself in an inconvenient, if not adverse to his wellbeing, while at the same time breathing in powerful vapor of carbolic gas? So consequently there is sufficient thought to this guarantee.


Lord Justice Bowen

He agreed with Lindley, L.J. He was of a similar conclusion however he additionally talked about scarcely any focuses as for unclearness and timespan of the agreement. His opinion was more tightly structured in style and frequently cited. He, excusing defense’s council guarantee, depended on his development of the report and he said that there is no time limit fixed for getting flu, and it can’t truly be intended to vow to pay cash to an individual who gets flu whenever after the breathing in of the smoke ball.

Lord Justice AL Smith

His judgment was broad and agreed with both Lindley LJ and Bowen LJ’s choices. According to him, there were two considerations there. One is the consideration of the inconvenience of having to use this carbolic smoke ball for two weeks three times a day; and another more important consideration is the money gain likely to accrue to the defendants by the enhanced sale of the smoke balls, because of the plaintiff’s use of them. There is an ample consideration to support this promise.



The Carlill case played a  huge role in building up the law of unilateral offers and established the framework for the advanced act of banning misdirecting promoting. Carlill is referred to as the main case in the precedent-based law of agreement, especially where unilateral contracts are concerned. This is maybe because of the technique of Counsel for the Defendant in running pretty much every accessible safeguard, requiring the court to manage these focuses thus in the judgment.

The impacts of this judgment despite everything still felt today. It gives a superb study of the essential standards of agreement and how they identify with regular day to day existence. The case stays a great law. It despite everything ties the lower courts of England and Wales and is referred to by decided with endorsement. Nonetheless, notwithstanding the authoritative cure stood to clients, similar realities would offer ascent to some of extra-legal cures and disciplines were a person to put an advert in similar terms today.






Author: Sanidhya Pateriya,
School of Law, Jagran Lakecity University/ 1st year

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