HC Deb 22 December 1915 vol 77 c486
97. Sir A. MARKHAM

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware in the recent case of Vanmeel v. the King, in which the Government undertook to pay £9,500 and costs, that Mr. Justice Scrutton expressed the hope that the results of all the commercial contracts entered into by the Government were not as disastrous as in this case; will he say what was the contract referred to as disastrous by Mr. Justice Scrutton; why the State has been called on to pay the sum of £9,500 to Mr. Vanmeel; and who is Mr. Vanmeel?


Mr. Vanmeel is a Dutch gentleman in business in Amsterdam. In September, 1914, the Sugar Commission entered into negotiations with him for purchase of sugar from Holland, to be delivered in September and October. The dates of delivery were of the essence of the arrangement, and Mr. Vanmeel having failed to deliver any of the sugar in September, the Commission declined to proceed further with the business. Thereupon he brought an action against the Commission. Before trial, the Commission was advised that the correspondence constituted a legal contract, of which the whole could not be terminated because of a failure in part; and the case was, therefore, settled out of Court. None of the facts were brought before the Court, so that the judge's remarks cannot be regarded as conveying any comment upon them.