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Eastwood v Kenyon (1840) 11 Ad. & E. 438

Contract Law – Consideration

Eastwood v Kenyon (1840) 11 Ad. & E. 438 is a key case within the contract law degree module for university LLB degree courses. The case concerns consideration used for the formation of a contract.

Facts:

In this case a father made a will to leave everything to his infant daughter. The claimant was appointed by the father as the executor of the will. After this, the father bought a new area of land and began building cottages but died before the cottages were completed.

The claimant acted as the daughter’s guardian and looked after the estate on her behalf, without payment. The claimant spent a vast sum of money educating the daughter, completing the building projects, and paying off the mortgage. The estate was not sufficient, so the claimant took out a loan under their name to use for the purposes of these tasks.

When the daughter came of age, she took over the claimant’s loan and promised to pay it off. The daughter then married, in which the husband repeated the promise to pay the loan. Upon the loan’s due date the couple refused to pay. They argued there was no legally binding contractual obligation between the two parties because the claimant/guardian of the will had provided no consideration.

Issue:

Has the claimant provided consideration for the promise of the loan being paid by the couple?

Held:

The court decided against the claimant. The actions of the claimant happened prior to the daughter and husband’s promises to pay. The actions of the claimant therefore were past consideration and were not viable. This is because past consideration is not good consideration and therefore cannot be used for the formation of a contract.

The court referred to the principle that enforcing all promises without consideration would open the floodgates to legal claims. This term refers to the ‘floodgates of litigation’, a court statement meaning that too many claims would suddenly begin.

OSCOLA reference this article/case: Lawlessons, ‘Eastwood v Kenyon (1840) 11 Ad. & E. 438 ‘ (LawLessons, 10th August 2021) <https://lawlessons.co.uk/eastwood-v-kenyon-1840-11-ad-e-438> accessed 8th July 2022

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