Stilk was contracted to work on a ship owned by Myrick for £5 a month, promising to do anything needed in the voyage regardless of emergencies. After the ship docked at Cronstadt two men deserted, and after failing to find replacements the captain promised the crew the wages of those two men divided between them if they fulfilled the duties of the missing crewmen as well as their own. After arriving at their home port the captain refused to pay the crew the money he had promised to them.
- Was there legally sufficient consideration of this agreement to allow the sailors to collect?
No consideration found; finding for the defendant.
The court held that the original contract bound Stilk to perform any and all duties on board the ship, and thus performing the additional work of the deserted crewmen was not sufficient as consideration in light of the new promise binding.
Performance of a pre-existing duty is not legally sufficient consideration.