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GOODRICKES v HALL AND ANOTHER 1978 (4) SA 208 (N)
1978 (4) SA p208
Citation 1978 (4) SA 208 (N)
Court Natal Provincial Division
Judge James JPand Howard J
Heard May 26, 1978
Judgment May 26, 1978
Annotations Link to Case Annotations
Flynote : Sleutelwoorde
Partnership - Authority of partner - Such extends to acts performed in furtherance of the business of
the partnership - Express agreement between partners limiting power of partner to perform acts
binding on the partnership - Partnership cannot shelter behind such agreement where a partner,
acting within his implied or ostensible authority, makes a contract with a person who is unaware of
such agreement.
Headnote : Kopnota
A partner's authority (to bind the partnership) extends to acts performed in furtherance of the
business of the partnership.
The following proposition in Wille and Millin Mercantile Law of South Africa 16th ed at 396 is
sound and in conformity with general principle and common sense: "The implied power of a
partner to make contracts or to perform other acts binding on the firm may be limited by express
agreement among the partners... If a partner, whose power is thus limited, exceeds his express
authority and makes a contract with a third person who is not aware of the limitation but the
partner acted within
1978 (4) SA p209
HOWARD J
his implied or ostensible authority, the firm cannot shelter itself behind these secret or private
instructions but is bound by the contract."
Case Information
Appeal from a decision in a magistrate's court. Facts not material to this report have been
omitted.
W Boshoff for the appellant.
D A Gordon SC for the respondent.
Judgment
HOWARD J: The plaintiff, a firm of attorneys, sued the two defendants, Hall and Burn
respectively, jointly and severally, for payment of R722,41 being the amount alleged to be due by
the defendants to the plaintiff in respect of professional services rendered.
At an early stage of the proceedings the plaintiff took a default judgment against the second

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defendant, Burn. Thereafter the matter proceeded against the first defendant, Hall, after the
summons had been amended to allege that he and Burn were sued jointly and severally as
erstwhile partners in a business venture.
At the conclusion of the evidence the magistrate granted judgment for the plaintiff for the amount
claimed against the first defendant Hall, jointly and severally with Burn, and made an appropriate
order regarding costs. According to the magistrate's written judgment, he found that it had been
proved that during August 1975 a partnership had existed between Hall and Burn for the purpose
of carrying on a restaurant business known as "The Snail"; that during August 1975 Burn
instructed Mr Hiles, a partner in the plaintiff firm, to make application for the grant of a liquor
licence for "The Snail" restaurant; that a reasonable fee for the plaintiff's professional services
was the amount claimed; and that the plaintiff rendered those services for the partnership. The
magistrate found that it had been established that Burn had authority to bind the partnership. He
said that he had found that this authority arose by express agreement between Burn and Hall,
and that it could be implied from "the customary dealing of the partnership". He was satisfied that
Burn had contracted the obligation in the name and on account of the partnership. The
magistrate unfortunately has failed to make any observation regarding the demeanour and
credibility of the witnesses who testified before him. It is clear, however, that he could not
reasonably have arrived at the findings which I have mentioned, particularly the finding that Burn
had authority to bind the partnership, without accepting the evidence for the plaintiff which was
material to that issue, and rejecting the contrary evidence on that issue of Hall, who was the sole
witness to testify in his defence.
The first defendant, Hall, now appeals against the magistrate's judgment on grounds which, in
essence, challenge the magistrate's findings of fact and credibility.
Mr Boshoff, who appears on behalf of the appellant, applied for and was granted leave to add
additional grounds of appeal to those appearing in the notice of appeal. The additional grounds
are set out in an application which appears at 272 - 273 of the record. Although he had no
authority to abandon these additional grounds of appeal, Mr Boshoff was unable to think of any
argument which could reasonably be advanced in support of them. They are, each and every
one of them, manifestly without substance, and I do not consider it necessary to set them out or
refer further to them.
1978 (4) SA p210
HOWARD J
The witnesses who were called by the plaintiff were the said Hiles and the second defendant,
Burn.
[The learned Judge then analysed the evidence and continued.]
It is clear from Hall's evidence that Hall knew that Burn had gone to Goodrickes and instructed
Hiles to apply for a liquor licence for the business of "The Snail" restaurant. He knew that that
instruction stood and that the application was pending at the stage when the proposed sale of his
half - share of the partnership to Burn fell through, and he knew that the application was still
pending at the time when the partnership was dissolved in September. This is borne out by the
fact that on 2 October 1975 he phoned Hiles and asked the latter whether the application could
be transferred so as to proceed either in his name or in the name of Botsis. Nevertheless, at no

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GOODRICKES v HALL AND ANOTHER 1978 (4) SA 208 (N) 1978 (4) SA p208 Citation Court Judge Heard Judgment Annotations 1978 (4) SA 208 (N) Natal Provincial Division James JPand Howard J May 26, 1978 May 26, 1978 Link to Case Annotations Flynote : Sleutelwoorde Partnership - Authority of partner - Such extends to acts performed in furtherance of the business of the partnership - Express agreement between partners limiting power of partner to perform acts binding on the partnership - Partnership cannot shelter behind such agreement where a partner, acting within his implied or ostensible authority, makes a contract with a person who is unaware of such agreement. Headnote : Kopnota A partner's authority (to bind the partnership) extends to acts performed in furtherance of the business of the partnership. The following proposition in Wille and Millin Mercantile Law of South Africa 16th ed at 396 is sound and in conformity with general principle and common sense: "The implied power of a partner to make contracts or to perform other acts binding on the firm may be limited by express agreement among the partners... If a partner, whose power is thus limited, exceeds his express authority and makes a contract with a third person who is not aware of the limitation but the partner acted within 1978 (4) SA p209 HOWARD J his implied or ostensible authority, the firm cannot shelter itself behind these secret or private instructions but is bound by the contract." Case Information Appeal fr ...
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