WARD v BYHAM (1956) PERFORMANCE OF A PUBLIC DUTY: Exceeding an existing public duty is good consideration


The father of an illegitimate child promised to pay the mother an allowance if the child was 'well looked after and happy'. The mother had a duty imposed by law to support the child. The Court of Appeal had to decide if the mother had given any consideration in exchange for the father's promise.

The father of an illegitimate child made the following promise to the child's mother:
I am prepared to let you have [the child] and pay you up to £1 a week allowance for her providing you can prove that she will be well looked after and happy and also that she is allowed to decide for herself whether or not she wishes to come and live with you.
The father later stopped making these payments and the mother sought to enforce his promise.

Held: The promise was supported by consideration and therefore enforceable. The majority (Morris and Parker LJJ) considered that, although the mother was required by statute to maintain her


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