Jaggard v Dickinson – 1981

March 08, 2024
Micheal James

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Jaggard v Dickinson is a notable legal case that holds significance in the realm of property law. Heard in the Court of Appeal in 1981, this case involved complex legal issues surrounding the sale of property and the obligations of sellers to disclose material facts to buyers. The outcome of this case has had lasting implications for property transactions and the duty of sellers to act in good faith.


The dispute between Jaggard and Dickinson stemmed from the sale of a residential property. Mr. Jaggard, the plaintiff, purchased the property from Mr. Dickinson, the defendant. However, after the sale was finalized, Mr. Jaggard discovered significant defects in the property that had not been disclosed to him prior to the transaction. These defects included structural issues and problems with the property’s foundation, rendering it uninhabitable.

Legal Issues Raised:

The primary legal issue at the heart of the case was whether Mr. Dickinson had a duty to disclose the defects in the property to Mr. Jaggard before the sale was completed. Additionally, the court needed to determine the extent of Mr. Jaggard’s rights as a buyer and whether he was entitled to seek damages for the undisclosed defects.

Arguments Presented:

Mr. Jaggard argued that Mr. Dickinson had breached his duty as a seller by failing to disclose the defects in the property. He contended that had he been aware of these issues, he would not have proceeded with the purchase or would have negotiated a lower price. On the other hand, Mr. Dickinson maintained that he was under no obligation to disclose the defects as they were not readily apparent and did not affect the property’s overall value.

Court Proceedings:

During the court proceedings, both parties presented evidence to support their respective arguments. Mr. Jaggard provided documentation and expert testimony to demonstrate the extent of the property’s defects and the financial losses he incurred as a result. Mr. Dickinson countered with evidence suggesting that the defects were not readily observable and that he had not intentionally concealed the defects. The court carefully examined the evidence presented by both parties, including the contract of sale, property inspection reports, and expert witness testimonies.

Court’s Decision:

After thorough deliberation, the court ruled in favor of Mr. Jaggard, holding that Mr. Dickinson had breached his duty to disclose the defects in the property. The court emphasized the principle of caveat emptor (buyer beware) but noted that this principle does not absolve sellers of their obligation to disclose material defects that are not readily observable. Consequently, Mr. Jaggard was awarded damages to compensate for the financial losses incurred due to the undisclosed defects.

Legal Precedents and Implications:

The decision in Jaggard v Dickinson established an important precedent in property law, clarifying the obligations of sellers to disclose material defects to buyers. This case underscored the importance of transparency and good faith in property transactions, emphasizing the need for sellers to provide full and accurate information to prospective buyers. The ruling also highlighted the courts’ role in upholding fairness and equity in contractual relationships, particularly in situations where one party may possess superior knowledge or information.


Jaggard v Dickinson serves as a landmark case in property law, setting a clear standard for sellers’ disclosure obligations and buyers’ rights in property transactions. The case highlights the courts’ role in interpreting and enforcing contractual obligations to ensure fairness and equity between parties. By holding sellers accountable for disclosing material defects, the decision promotes transparency and trust in the property market, ultimately safeguarding the interests of buyers and maintaining the integrity of contractual relationships.

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