Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885

December 19, 2023
Micheal James

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Case Introduction

The case of Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885 stands as a significant legal milestone in contract law history. It involved two key players: Edgington, the plaintiff, and Fitzmaurice, the defendant. This case’s importance is rooted in its exploration of critical legal principles governing contracts and misrepresentations, shaping subsequent legal interpretations in contract law for years to come. It provided a foundational understanding of the duties and obligations concerning truthful representations within contractual agreements.

1. Historical Context

Taking place in the late 19th century, the legal and societal landscapes were evolving. The era witnessed a burgeoning industrial revolution, leading to rapid changes in business practices and contractual agreements. The case emerged in this dynamic period when legal frameworks were adapting to accommodate new commercial activities, and the courts were tasked with navigating the complexities arising from these novel business transactions. Edgington v Fitzmaurice unfolded within this historical backdrop, reflecting the legal environment’s shifting dynamics.

2. Case Facts and Circumstances

The case originated from a scenario where Edgington, as the plaintiff, engaged in a transaction involving shares in a company. Fitzmaurice, the defendant, made certain representations regarding the purpose for which the shares were being issued. However, it was later revealed that the funds raised from the share issue were utilized for a different purpose than what was initially communicated. This discrepancy in the information provided formed the crux of the legal dispute, leading Edgington to seek legal redress.

3. Legal Issues and Arguments

Edgington’s primary contention was that Fitzmaurice had made false statements or misrepresentations regarding the intended use of the funds raised through the share issue. The central legal issue revolved around whether these misrepresentations constituted a breach of contract or a violation of legal obligations. The case focused on the legal implications arising from representations made during the formation of a contract and the ensuing responsibilities associated with such representations.

4. Court Proceedings and Judgments

At the trial court level, arguments were presented by both parties, focusing on the nature of the representations made and their impact on the contractual agreement. The court deliberated on the legal significance of the misrepresentations in the context of contract law. Subsequently, higher courts, if applicable, reviewed the case and provided judgments that shaped the final outcome based on the presented arguments and legal precedents.

5. Judicial Reasoning and Decision

The court’s decision in Edgington v Fitzmaurice was grounded in the evaluation of the representations made by Fitzmaurice and their significance within the contractual context. The judgment centered on determining whether the misrepresentations had a material impact on the agreement between the parties. It relied on established legal principles to ascertain the consequences of misrepresentations in contractual matters, guiding future interpretations in similar cases.

6. Legal Significance and Impact

The significance of Edgington v Fitzmaurice reverberated through legal circles, establishing precedents that underscored the importance of truthful and accurate representations in contractual agreements. This case set a precedent emphasizing the need for transparency and honesty in business dealings, influencing subsequent legal developments in contract law. Its enduring impact lies in shaping the foundational principles governing misrepresentations and obligations within contracts.

7. Legacy and Continued Relevance

Even in contemporary legal contexts, the principles elucidated in Edgington v Fitzmaurice continue to hold relevance. The case’s legacy is embedded in its contribution to the evolution of contract law, emphasizing the duties and responsibilities concerning representations made during the formation of contractual agreements. Its enduring relevance underscores the foundational significance of truthful and accurate representations in contractual dealings, guiding legal interpretations and decisions to this day.


In conclusion, Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885 stands as a landmark case that significantly shaped the landscape of contract law. Its profound impact on defining the significance of accurate representations in contractual agreements reverberates through legal interpretations and principles. This case’s enduring legacy lies in its foundational role in emphasizing the importance of honesty, transparency, and accuracy in contractual negotiations, contributing significantly to the evolution of contract law.

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All Answers ltd, 'Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885' (Mylawtutor.net, September 2012 ) <https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/edgington-v-fitzmaurice-1885> accessed 21 February 2024
My, Law, Tutor. (September 2012 ). Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885. Retrieved from https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/edgington-v-fitzmaurice-1885
"Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885." MyLawTutor.net. 9 2012. All Answers Ltd. 02 2024 <https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/edgington-v-fitzmaurice-1885>.
"Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885." MyLawTutor. MyLawTutor.net, September 2012. Web. 21 February 2024. <https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/edgington-v-fitzmaurice-1885>.
MyLawTutor. September 2012. Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885. [online]. Available from: https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/edgington-v-fitzmaurice-1885 [Accessed 21 February 2024].
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<ref>{{cite web|last=Tutor |first=MyLaw |url=https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/edgington-v-fitzmaurice-1885 |title=Edgington v Fitzmaurice – 1885 |publisher=MyLawTutor.net |date=September 2012 |accessdate=21 February 2024 |location=UK, USA}}</ref>

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