Timeline of cases to go with Balfour v Balfour

Cases which go with Balfour v Balfour

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Eastland v Burchell

  • 1879 - 1891
  • If the husband leaves the wife, he is bound to provide for her
  • If the wife leaves the husband she must provide for her self and not rely on the husband
  • husband a butcher v butchers wife for 38l (pounds) of meat supplied to the wife whome was living away from her husband at the time
  • County Court judge favoued wife and so the amount had to be paid
  • Husband appealed and at QC it was said at the time the wife had no right to 'pledge credit' as she was seperated from him with an agreed income
  • The husband agreed on the settlement day to pay 5l (pounds) per quater for the children and their education as well as any debts that may arise
  • The wife later appealed saying it was not enough to live on, educate and clothe all members of the family.
  • The judge look up the income of the wife and decided it was insufficent however due to the 1st and 2nd point they saw no reason to continue as he was not reliable for the wife once she left him.
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Synge v Synge

  • 1894
  • The defendant agreed by ante - nuptial written promise to leave a certain house and land, by will, to the plantiff for life, if she would marr him. The marriage took place but sometime afterward he conveyed the property to third parties.
  • In an action for damages for breach of contract the court held that the conveyance by the husband was a breach of contract for which the wife had an immediate right of action and could recover damages.
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Merritt v Merritt 1970

  • D and C married, but the husband C went to live with another woman.  C agreed to pay D £40 a month and she was to pay off the mortgage. When it was paid off he would transfer the house into her sole ownership. The wife paid off the balance of the mortgage and the husband then reduced the £40 a month to £25 a month. Balfour v Balfour [1919] CA held that a spouse could not sue the other spouse. Held: Distinguishing Balfour v Balfour [1919] CA and Jones v Padavatton [1969] CA, Lord Denning stated that an intention to create legal relations could found between a husband and wife where they were living in amity and separated or about to separate. Per curiam. In deciding whether or not an agreement is intended to establish legal relations the surrounding circumstances must be looked at to see whether reasonable people would regard the agreement as intended to be binding. House belonged to D
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Pettitt v Pettitt 1970

  • In Pettitt, the wife had used her own money to buy a house during the marriage and both she and her husband resided therein until the wife left the husband. The husband claimed that he had carried out a considerable number of improvements to the house and garden. These improvements consisted of internal decoration work, building a wardrobe, laying a lawn and constructing an ornamental wall and a side wall in the garden. By virtue of these efforts the husband sought a beneficial interest in the proceeds of sale of the property. Title to the house had been in the wife's name.

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