The defendant husband held a post in Ceylon. He and his wife, the claimant, returned to England on leave in 1915. However, when the defendant returned to Ceylon in 1916, the claimant remained temporarily in England on medical advice. The claimant alleged that, before the defendant returned to Ceylon, they had entered into an oral agreement by which the defendant agreed to pay her £30 a month in consideration for her agreeing not to call upon him for further maintenance. The parties later became estranged and the claimant sought to enforce the agreement.

Held: Since it was a domestic agreement between husband and wife, it was not an enforceable contract.

ATKIN LJ: The defence to this action on the alleged contract is that the defendant, the husband, entered into no contract with his wife, and for the determination of that it is necessary to remember that there are agreements between parties which do not result in contracts within the meaning of that term in our law. The ordinary example is where two parties agree to take a walk together, or where there is an offer and an acceptance of hospitality. Nobody would suggest in ordinary circumstances that those agreements result in what (p. 186) we know as a contract, and one of the most usual forms of agreement which does not constitute a contract appears to me to be the arrangements which are made between husband and wife.

It is quite common, and it is the natural and inevitable result of the relationship of husband and wife, that the two spouses should make arrangements between themselves—agreements such as are in dispute in this action—agreements for allowances, by which the husband agrees that he will pay to his wife a certain sum of money, per week, or per month, or per year, to cover either her own expenses or the necessary expenses of the household and of the children of the marriage, and in


No comments have yet been made