LA1105 Thomas v Thomas - Doctrine of adequacy and sufficiency
This essay critically explores the doctrines of consideration and sufficiency within the context of contract law, with references to the matter of Thomas v Thomas from 1842. In assigning significance to these matters, it is noted that Sir John Patteson, a judge in 1830 who was appointed to the Court of King's Bench, (later the Privy Council) was knighted shortly after making the landmark decision regarding the doctrine of consideration in the case of Thomas. The ratio decidendi in Thomas, was ‘[c]onsideration must be of value and involve benefit or detriment’ postulating further that ‘although consideration must be sufficient, it need not be adequate.’ CONSIDERATION
Eleanor Thomas sued the executors of her husband’s estate where the court ruled the agreement entered into, was neither nominal nor a voluntary gift, but sufficient in consideration. Consideration is the intention to create legal relations through a bargaining process affording a mutual exchange of a promise for a promise. In Beaton v McDivitt, it is evident that if a transfer was a gift, the essential component of bargaining would be absent. Consideration must be quid pro quo and result in a transfer between the promisor and the promisee, and result in the creation of a relationship of cause and effect.
Only the parties involved can enforce the agreement. Consideration may also be a promise to refrain from doing something as Lush J in Currie v Misa states, ‘a valuable consideration, in the sense of the law, may consist in some right, interest, profit, or benefit accruing to the one party, or some forbearance, detriment, loss or responsibility, given, suffered, or undertaken by the other.’ Consideration can involve the forbearing to sue even if the case is unfounded. Past consideration may be valid where it was preceded by a request, however services that would not have been performed but for the