Hedley Byrne v Heller

Hedley Byrne and Company Ltd. v Heller and Partners Ltd. [1963] 2 All E.R. 575

Hedley Byrne were a firm of Advertising Agents. Heller and Partners Ltd., were Merchant Bankers.

Hedley Byrne needed to ascertain the creditworthiness of a client, Easipower Ltd., who were banking with Heller and Partners.

Hedley Byrne got their Bank, National Provincial Bank, to obtain a report from Heller and Partners.

Firstly, the National Provincial Bank telephoned Heller and Partners to find out whether Easipower Ltd., would be good for an advertising contract of £8000 – £9000.

Later in 07/11/1958, the National Provincial Bank wrote to Heller and Partners to find out whether Easipower Ltd., was trustworthy in the way of business to the extent of £ 100,000 per annum.

On 11/11/1958, Heller and Partners replied stating that,


For your private use and without responsibility on the part of the Bank or its Officials. . . . Easipower Ltd. Respectably constituted Company, considered good for it’s ordinary business engagements

National Provincial Bank communicated these replies to Hedley Byrne. Hedley Byrne relied on these statements and as a result they lost over £17,000 when Easipower Ltd., went into liquidation.

Hedley Byrne sought to recover the loss from Heller and Partners as damages on the ground that these replies were given negligently and in breach of their duty to exercise care in giving them.

Appeal dismissed.

Liability excluded. No duty of care