Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots Cash Chemists Ltd [1953] 1 QB 401, Court of Appeal

Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots Cash Chemists Ltd [1953] 1 QB 401, Court of Appeal
The defendants operated a retail self-service chemist. The customers took the items they required from the shelves, put them into a basket, and then took them to the cash desk. The pharmacist supervised the transaction at the cash desk. The issue was whether the sale was completed at the shelf when the goods were selected, or at the cash desk. The provisions of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1933 s18 stated that it was unlawful to sell certain drugs, unless the sale is affected under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.
HELD Somervell LJ
The usual view has been that customers (say in a bookshop) select the item they wish to purchase, and then take it to the assistant, who accepts it and completes the contract. I cannot see that this situation is any different. The plaintiff contends that the defendant has offered to sell the goods by displaying them on the shelves, and that the plaintiff accepts the offer by taking them from the shelf. If this is correct, then a person who takes something from the shelves cannot then replace the item if they see something which they would prefer more. It seems clear that the sale takes place at the cash register, under the supervision of the pharmacist, in conformity with the Act.
Birkett LJ. and Romer LJ. agreed.

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