Critically of title from seller to buyer is in

Critically discuss how and when title
is transferred if the seller is bound to perform some condition(s) before the
sale is possible. Illustrate your answer using a variety of legal sources.


The most relevant part of the Sales
of Goods Act 1979 appears in section 18 where it stipulates several rules regarding
the rules for ascertaining intention. However, the most relevant in relation to
transfer of title from seller to buyer is in both Rule 2 and Rule 3. Rule 2 states
that when there is a contract made in the sales of goods and the seller is
legally bound to change or do something to the good(s) in order to ensure that
they are in a state deemed to be deliverable, then the item(s) cannot be
transferred to the buyer until these tasks have been completed and moreover the
buyer is made aware that these tasks have been completed (Sales of goods Act,
1979). Rule 3 stipulates that when a seller is required to measure, test or
weigh for the purpose of ascertaining the price of the goods, they do not pass
onto the buyer until the seller has completed these aspects and made the buyer
clear that this has been completed (sales of goods act, 1979).

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An aspect of transfer of title
which should be discussed first and foremost is perhaps rule 1 of section 18 which
it states that where there is an unconditional contract in specified goods in a
deliverable state, title of the ownership of the items is immediately passed to
the buyer the moment the contract is made and the time that the payment is received,
or items, even if both are postponed are legally irrelevant.

In section 18, rule 1 of the SOGA
1979 is an important aspect of ascertaining intention as if one does not make a
clear conditional contract on specified goods and agrees upon such a contract
on an item(s) then it can backfire on them in the future as they immediately assume
title of the property before ever having a definitive date on receiving the goods
from the seller. An example of where section 18 of the Sales of Goods Act 1979
is strongly employed is in the case of Kursell V Timer Operations and
Contractors, Ltd. In 1920, Timber operators who were the vendor agreed with the
seller, (Kursell) to purchase all timber growing in the forest but not
seedlings or trees less than six inches in diameter or and to be cut no more
than twelve feet from the bottom. Kursell had an agreement with Timber operations
that the purchasers had fifteen years to remove all the timber with the use of
their tools and equipment. When later, the Latvian government passed a new law
which meant that the forest was now legally owned by the government and the
contract made between Kursell and Timber operations was quashed consequently
meaning that while money had been paid to the sellers for the first half year
they could no longer extract any more timber. When they later challenged this,
it was determined that the original contract between the two parties was not a
contract for the specific sales of goods because the goods would have not been
deemed deliverable in relation to section 18 of the SOGA 1979. Moreover, all
the goods were not agreed upon as it was specified that only some in certain diameters
etc could be cut down and therefore it was not in a state deemed deliverable
until the purchasers had cut down part a tree not yet realised or defined thus
meaning that that the timber was not at the risk of the purchasers.

Rule 2 of section 18 of the Sales
of Goods Act 1979 is exemplified in the case of Underwood V. Burgh Castle Brick.
In this case the buyer (Underwood) entered into a contract with the seller
(Burgh Castle Brick) which stated that Burgh Castle Brick would sell an engine
to Underwood with the understanding that the seller would dismantle and detach for
it to be delivered onto rail as it was bolted down in concrete. When the seller
was loading it onto a truck it became damaged. When they presented it to the
buyer, they refused it. When taken to court, the decision was ultimately taken
to award the case to the defendant (buyer). This decision was taken because
when the contract was made, though rule one of section 18 did not apply because
it was not in a deliverable state but rather it was rule 2 because the sellers
were legally bound to do something (detach and dismantle it) for it to become by
definition a deliverable state, ultimately meaning that the it was the sellers
who remained liable for the goods and not the buyer.

In rule 3 of section 18 of the
Sale of Goods Act 1979, as previously stated, the seller must measure, weigh and
test to determine the price before it can be a legally binding contract in the final
sale of the good(s). This is seen in Rugg V. Minett when the buyer purchased two
separate amounts of turpentine which contents could only have been deemed absolute
when another twenty-two lots had been added to the two separate articles and
hence the goods did not pass title until this was completed. When the seller
tried to do this, the whole amount of turpentine was lost by fire. Ultimately, the
seller took the financial loss as legally, they still held the liability of
loss as they still held the risk until it had been weighed and the amount precisely
determined which it never was thus annulling any previous contract between the
two parties.