Cases on Intention

A couple of cases relating to Intention within contarct law

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Balfour v Balfour 1919

A civil servant was on holiday in the UK with his wife. When it was time for him to retuen to work in Ceylon his wife was ill and could not travel on doctor's order. Her husband said he would send her £30 a month. He then failed to do so and she sued.

Held - She was not entitled to the money. Not only was she providing no consideration for it to be a legally binding agreement the court also stated that it had been entered as a purely domestic agreement.

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Merritt v Merritt 1970

Mr and Mrs Merritt has split up. Mr Merritt agreed to pay his wife £40 a month on condition she repaid the mortgage with this. Mrs Merritt refused to agree unless it was put into writing. Mrs Merritt wrote the following

"In consideration of the fact that you will pay all the charges in connection with the house until such time as the mortgage repayment has been completed I will agree to transfer the property into your sole ownership."

When the mortgage was paid Mr Merritt refused to transfer ownership.

Held - An agreement between husband and wife is usually a domestic agreement. However in this case the parties were no longer happily married and it had to be presumed that by putting the agreement into writing there was an intention to be legally bound and he had to honour his promise.

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Parker v Clark 1960

2 related couples entered an agreement. The younger couple would sell their house, go and live with their elderly relatives and contribute to the upkeep of the property. They also invested the money form the sale of their property into the old people's house. The agreement also stated that the young couple would inherit the house when the time came.

Held - This was more than a domestic agreement. The fact that the young couple sold their own proprty was an indication that they entered with the intention of it being legally binding.

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Simpkins v Pys 1955

The defendant lived in her house along with her granddaughter and a lodger. They had agreement as to the living arrangements and also an agreement regarding a competition that they entered on a weekly basis. The agreement was that if they ever won, as they all paid equally to the entry cost, all the winnings would be shared. When they won the grandmother refused to pay the lodger.

Held - She was obliged to do so as the agreement was not socail agreement or part of their normal domestic agreements.

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Edwards v Skyways Ltd 1964

An airline pilot was made redundant. The claiment was entitled to money from the contributions paid into a pension fund. His union, negotiating on his behalf, agreed with the defendants that they would also make him an ex geatia payment. Later they paid him his pension figure but refused to pay the extra amount.

Held - The court refused to accept that they had rebutted the presumption that commercial agreements are legally binding and as such they were obliged to pay the extra sum.

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