ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. A husband promised to pay his wife a £30 per month allowance. The wife sued her husband to enforce the promise.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Agreements between husband and wife to provide monies are generally not contracts because generally the “parties d[o] not intend that they should be attended by legal consequences.”
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Issue. Does the husbands promise to pay £30 per month constitute a valid contract which can be sued upon?
Held. The court first recognized that certain forms of agreements do not reach the status of a contract. An agreement between a husband and wife is often times such a form of agreement. In such agreements, one party is give a certain sum of money on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc.. basis. This agreement is sometimes termed an allowance. However, these agreements are not contracts because the “parties did not intend that they should be attended by legal consequences.” One reason the court is hesitant to treat these agreements as contracts, is that there would not be enough courts to handle the volume of cases. Thus, here, the husband’s promise did not rise to the level of a contract.
Discussion. The court makes an interesting argument in not enforcing these types of promises. The court argues that if these promises are treated as contracts the flood gates will open.