Hadley v. Droitwich Construction Co.

Hadley v. Droitwich Construction Co.

 [1968] 1 WLR 37

(Qualified Implied Warranty)


P hired a crane to D with no obligation on them to maintain. The hirer (D) undertook to put competent man in charge and carry out service. This man never inspected the crane nor did carry out any servicing. One of the hirer’s work-man was injured when the superstructure of the crane broke away from its base and fell on him. He sued both D & P. D claimed that they were entitled to be indemnified by P on the ground that P had been negligent in providing them with a defective crane.

ISSUE: Whether P is under an obligation to indemnify D?


Trial Court

  1. Held both to be equally liable in negligence
  2. P were in breach of the implied terms of the contract of hiring that the crane would be fit for the purpose for which it was required and free from defect.



  1. Upheld the Trial Court on 1st point
  2. The implied warranty as to fitness was qualified by the undertakings given by D to put a competent man and oversee the maintenance and service of the crane. Neither condition was performed: the warranty disappears, as the conditions were broken. The implied warranty could not survive a breach of those undertakings by D and hence D was not entitled to be indemnified.


  1. Concurred to Sellers and said that D could not shift the liability from their shoulders as it was due to their own breach of duty towards their employee.
  2. Mowbray v. Merryweather which says that in a case where A has been held liable to X, a stranger, for negligent failure to take a certain precaution, he may recover over from someone with whom he has a contract only if by that contract the other contracting party has warranted that he need not take any care or there is no necessity to take the very precaution for the failure, is not applicable as there is no such assurance from P in this case.


Concurred on all the points and said that there was no contractual obligation on P to maintain nor could the implied warranty given by P possibly extend to an obligation that the crane would remain in good working condition notwithstanding neglect or failure to examine and maintain it.

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