Response or Comment
That a mere license purporting to create in the licensee a new right or privilege is revocable at law at the will of the licensor seems to have been definitely settled in England by Wood v. Leadbitter, 13 M. & W. 838 (1845). It was there held that the plaintiff who had entered the close of the defendant's master after the purchase of a proper ticket could be forcibly ousted, notice having been first given that he should leave. The only remedy open to the ousted ticket holder-in law at least-no excessive violence1 having been used, is to sue for breach of the contract. The rule of Wood v. Leadbitter has been almost uniformly followed by the American courts. Homey v. Nixon, 213 Pa. St. 20, 110 Am. St. Rep. 520, 1 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1184; Meisner v. Ferry Co., 154 Mich. 545; W. W. V. Co. v. Black, 113 Va. 728, 75 S. E. 82; Shubert v. Nixon Co., 83 N. J. L. 101, 83 Atl. 369; Taylor v. Cohn, 47 Ore. 538; Collister v. Hayman, 183 N. Y. 250; People v. Flynn, 189 N. Y. 180;, Buengle v. Amnus. Assoc., 29 R. I. 23, 14 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1242; Marrone v. Jockey Club, 227 U. S. 633. The tickets in Wood v. Leadbitter and the cases referred to above were mere licenses uncoupled with any interest whatever and did not serve to create in the purchasers any interest in land because not under seal, or because of the nature of the privilege conferred, or both. In equity the licensee's rights perhaps may be more secure, depending, it would seem, upon the nature of the privilege and the circumstances. Some licenses for instance, could in equity be specifically enforced by requiring the execution of a proper deed, as in Duke of Devonshire v. Eglin, 14 Beav. 530, or what in general effect would be the same thing, their revocation could be enjoined. But would equity specifically enforce all licenses or enjoin their revocation?
Aigler, Ralph W. "Revocability of Licenses - The Rule of Wood v. Leadbitter." Mich. L. Rev. 13 (1915): 401-3.