John Sutcliffe died and left Eastwood as the guardian to his infant daughter, Sarah. Eastwood borrowed money to pay for Sarah's education and Sarah promised to pay him back when she came of age and paid one year's interest to him. Sarah then married Kenyon who also promised to pay Eastwood back. Kenyon failed to do so and Eastwood sued. Kenyon said that he will pay the money after he got a child from Sarah.
- Is a promise sufficient to form a contract?
No contract found to have existed.
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:
- annihilating the necessity for consideration and it is not the role of contract law to enforce morality
- the floodgates opening with everyone seeking to enforce promises made
- Promises are not sufficient to found a contract.
- Consideration made in the past is no consideration at all.