• In the case of Charnock v Liverpool Corporation [1968] 3 All ER 473, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was an implied term that the repairs would be conducted within a reasonable time.
  • This case concerned contract termination, implied terms, cars and third parties.

Facts of the Case

  • C and D contracted to allow C’s damaged car to be repaired. D took extra time to repair and maintain the car.
  • In this appeal, C claimed D breached the contract however D contended that the agreement was with C’s insurance so C’s arguments weren’t valid.


  • What are the rights of a third party?
  • Did D fail to carry out the repairs within reasonable time?

Held by Court of Appeal

  • Appeal dismissed  – C and D had a collateral contract.

Harman LJ

Reasonable time

  • “When a man takes his car into a garage and asks them to repair it, as is done every day, and the garage agrees to do so, there a contract is made to do the repairs with reasonable skill and in a reasonable time. The fact that the insurance company will indemnify the owner is well known in all insurance cases to both parties. The practice has grown up that the insurance company shall agree the sum for which they will stand surety and a contract is very often made by the repairer with the insurance company. Let it be so in this case.”

Salmon LJ

Was there a contract?

  • There remains a contract existing between the insurance company and C but also a contract between the repairers and the owner to carry out the repairs as per Godfrey Davis Ltd v Culling and Hecht [1962] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 34 and Cooter & Green Ltd v Tyrrell [1962] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 377.
  • The reasonable time was exceeded by 3 weeks.
  • “In my view there was a clear contract to be inferred from the facts between the repairers and the plaintiff car owner that in consideration of the plaintiff leaving his car with the repairers for repair the repairers would carry out the repairs with reasonable expedition and care, and that they would be paid by the insurance company.”
  • “It seems to me that if they had wanted to protect themselves against a claim for damages for unreasonable delay they could and should have warned the plaintiff that the repairs could not be carried out in the time which is recognised in the trade as the normal and reasonable time for carrying out such repairs.”