Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 June 2008
The dilemma facing the law when two innocent parties have suffered at the hands of a wrongdoer is well known and arises acutely in the context of the sale of goods. Typically, in the classic simple three party situation: the owner of goods either gives goods to or has goods stolen by a rogueseller who purports to sell them to an innocent third party buyer. Both the owner and buyer of the goods may well have a personal claim against the seller, but if the seller has either disappeared or has no money that personal claim may well be worthless. As a result, the question of who is entitled to the goods themselves is likely to determine which party will suffer as a result of the seller's actions. The crucial issue is who in this situation is entitled to the goods: this is a question of conflict of title or priority. Who has a better title to the goods, the owner or the buyer?