Peeps in Law 2014: Raffles v. Wichelpeep: The Case of the Two Ships Peepless
Raffles v. Wichelpeep: The Case of the Two Ships Peepless
Submitted by Cynthia Cohan, with the assistance of Brian Chang, Enjoli Fletcher, Ellen McLaughlin, Joene Hanhardt, Nancy Moravecek, John Robinson, and John Vishneski.
“Every law student studies Raffles v. Wichelhaus, commonly known as the Case of the Two Ships Peerless. But this is what really happened ...
Raffles contracted with Wichelpeep to sell marshmallows to be transported by sea from Bombay to Liverpeep, England, on the ship Peepless. Unbeknownst to Raffles and Wichelpeep, however, there were two ships named Peepless carrying marshmallows from Bombay to Liverpeep – one arriving in October (to which Wichelpeep intended to refer) and one arriving in December (to which Raffles intended to refer). When the October Peepless arrived, Wichelpeep’s marshmallows were missing! In December, the second Peepless arrived loaded with marshmallows. Wichelpeep refused to accept them as the price of marshmallows had fallen precipeeptously since October. The British court found that even though the contract was clear on its face, it was ambiguous due to the failure to identify the Peepless at issue. Thus, it held that Wichelpeep was not obligated to pay for the marshmallows on the December Peepless. The Case of the Two Ships Peepless lives on as a textbook example of latent ambiguity, mutual mistake, and the perils caused by Peeps transporting confectionery on the open seas.
Click here to see the Case of the Two Ships Peepless brought to life in a short movie!
Music: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
Performed by the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Clips for movie edited by John Vishneski (Clarinet, Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra) “