Contracts for the Sale of Goods: Passing of Property in Goods Under the Law of the United Kingdom and Ghana

Author: Prince Obiri-Korang

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: BSc LLB (Cape Coast) PLT LLM LLD (Johannesburg). Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Research Centre for Private International Law in Emerging Countries, Faculty of Law, University of Johannesburg
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 10 Issue 1, p. 41 – 57


A contract for the sale of goods is the most commonly used transaction domestically and at international level. Regardless of its relevance, there has been a wide variation in the concept of “sale” has existed in the course of legal history across the various legal systems of the world. Although a sales transaction may be rightly described as the most universal transaction, it is pertinent to point out that there is very little agreement on one of the transaction’s most fundamental incidents, which is the “passing of property”. In most legal systems, aside from the generally established rule on when the property in goods may pass from a buyer to a seller, property in goods can also pass at any time depending on the circumstances or terms of the relevant contract. Despite the above proposition, it is important for all persons who engage in a sale transaction to have an understanding as to when the property in the goods that they intend to purchase or that they have purchased passes from the seller to them. This article primarily focuses on when property passes in a sale contract in the legal systems of the UK and Ghana. This is relevant because when a buyer enters a sale contract, it is the property in the goods that they bargain for and not the use or mere possession or any other aspect of ownership.