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Facts[]

John Sutcliffe died and left Eastwood as the guardian to his infant daughter, Sarah. Eastwood borrowed money from one Blackburn to pay for Sarah's education and Sarah promised Eastwood she would pay  back Blackburn when she came of age. Sarah paid one year's interest to him. Sarah then married Kenyon who also promised Eastwood to pay back Blackburn. Kenyon failed to do so and Eastwood sued. 

Issue[]

  1. Is a promise sufficient to form a contract??

Decision[]

No contract found to have existed. Hence can't be binding

Reasons[]

The court found that on the facts there was nothing more than a benefit voluntarily conferred by Eastwood and an express promise made by Kenyon to repay the money.

Lord Denman CJ argued that while deliberately made promises should be enforced this would have the result of:

  1. annihilating the necessity for consideration and it is not the role of contract law to enforce morality
  2. the floodgates opening with everyone seeking to enforce promises made

Ratio[]

  • Promises are not sufficient to found a contract.
  • Consideration made in the past is no consideration at all.
  • Moral obligation does not constitute consideration
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