This case matters to my husband and me, because we pay much money yearly to service our cars at auto shops!! 1. We have never heard of "monthly credit account" at vehicle workshops? How does this work?
- I don't understand footnote 49 quoted below. Why does Wilson's having a monthly credit account prevent the garage from having a lien on Wilson's car?
Wilson v Lombank Ltd  1 WLR 1294.
FACTS: Wilson bought a car from a person who turned out to be a rogue, and took it to a garage for repairs. After the repairs were completed, the car was left on the forecourt of the garage, but before Wilson could collect it, the garage permitted Lombank Ltd to remove the car. The car had been stolen and Lombank honestly believed that it owned the car. Subsequently, Lombank discovered that it did not own the car and so it delivered it to the true owner. Wilson sued Lombank for trespass to goods. Trespass to goods requires the claimant to have had possession of the goods and that the defendant interfered with that possession, so the issue was: did Wilson have possession of the car?
HELD: When Wilson left the car with the garage, he still retained possession of the car, since the garage was holding it to his order at all times.49 Consequently, Lombank was liable in trespass to Wilson for the full value of the car, together with the cost of the repairs.
COMMENT: This case illustrates two important points. First, Wilson was able to protect his right to possession against Lombank, even though there was someone who had a better title to the car than him. This reminds us that property rights are simply relative and a title which is less than absolute is still protected by the law. Second, the law may treat a person as being in possession even where the goods are physically controlled by someone else. In this case, Wilson had what is called ‘constructive possession’, which is discussed later in this chapter.
49 Note that the garage did not have a lien on the car, since Wilson had a monthly credit account with it.
Lee Roach, Commercial Law 2019 3e, p 32.