Rules of consideration
1. The consideration must not be past.
Re McArdle (1951) Ch 669 Majorie McArdle carried out certain improvements and repairs on a bungalow. The bungalow formed part of the estate of her husband's father who had died living the property to his wife for life and then on trust for Majorie's husband and his four siblings. After the work had been carried out the brothers and sisters signed a document stating in consideration of you carrying out the repairs we agree that the executors pay you £480 from the proceeds of sale. However, the payment was never made. Held: The promise to make payment came after the consideration had been performed therefore the promise to make payment was not binding. Past consideration is not valid. 2. The consideration must be sufficient but need not be adequate. Lampleigh v Braithwaite  EWHC KB J17 The defendant had killed a man and was due to be hung for murder. He asked the claimant to do everything in his power to obtain a pardon from the King. The claimant went to great efforts and managed to get the pardon requested. The defendant then promised to pay him £100 for his efforts but never paid up. Held:Whilst the promise to make payment came after the performance and was thus past consideration, the consideration was proceeded by a request from the defendant which meant the consideration was valid. The defendant was obliged to pay the claimant £100. 3. The consideration must move from the promisee.
Tweddle v Atkinson  EWHC QB J57 Queen's Bench Division A couple were getting married. The father of the bride entered an agreement with the father of the groom that they would each pay the couple a sum of money. The father of the bride died without having paid. The father of the son also died so was unable to sue on the agreement. The groom made a claim against the executor of the will. Held:The claim failed: The groom was not party to the agreement and the consideration did not move from him. Therefore he was not entitled to enforce the contract.
4. An existing public duty will not amount to valid consideration. Collins v Godefrey (1831) 1 B & Ad 950 King's Bench Division The claimant, Collins, had been subpoenaed to attend court as a witness in separate court case involving the defendant, Godefrey. Godefrey had sued his attorney for malpractice and Collins was required by the court to attend as an expert witness. In fact Collins never gave evidence but was required to be on standby for six days in case he was called. After the trial Collins gave Godefrey an invoice to cover his time spent at court and demanded payment by the next day. Without giving him the full day to pay, Collins commenced an action to enforce payment. Held: Collins was under a public duty to attend court due to the subpoena. Where there exists an existing public duty this can not be used as consideration for a new promise. Godefrey was not required to pay him. 5. An existing contractual duty will not amount to valid consideration. Stilk v Myrick  EWHC KB J58 King's Bench Division The claimant was a seaman on a voyage from London to the Baltic and back. He was to be paid £5 per month. During the voyage two of the 12 crew deserted. The captain promised the remaining crew members that if they worked the ship undermanned as it was back to London he would divide the wages due to the deserters between them. The claimant agreed. The captain never made the extra payment promised. Held: The claimant was under an existing duty to work the ship back to London and undertook to submit to all the emergencies that entailed. Therefore he had not provided any consideration for the promise for extra money. Consequently he was entitled to nothing.
Requirement of contract
Consideration: Value given in return for a promise. Consideration must be (1) legally sufficient and (2) bargained for by the party receiving it.
Legally sufficient consideration may take the form of:
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