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Williams v Carwardine

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Williams v Carwardine
UK

Citation

Williams v Carwardine, (1833) 110 ER 590

Plaintiff

Mary Anne Williams

Defendant

William Carwardine

Year

1833

Court

Court of King's Bench

Judges

Denman CJ and Parke, Littledale, Patteson JJ

Country

United Kingdom

Area of law

Communication of offer, Offer

Issue

Is motivation important when deciding whether or not a contract has been formed?

FactsEdit

Walter Carwardine was murdered on April 12, 1831 and was seen that night with with Mary Anne Williams who was questioned but gave no information to the magistrates of worth. William, Walter's brother, posted a handbill for information as should lead to the discovery of the murderer with a reward of £20. Williams was beaten by her husband and believing she was going to die made a statement which led to the conviction of her husband for Walter's death.

IssueEdit

  1. Has the plaintiff formed a contract with the defendant in spite of the fact that she was not motivated by the reward when the information was given?

DecisionEdit

Finding for the plaintiff.

ReasonsEdit

The court held that Williams had clearly performed the terms of the offer (giving information that lead to the conviction of the murderer) and the handbill, which she must have known of given that it was posted all over Hereford, promised to give money for that information. As a result, a contract was formed with any person who performed the condition, without considering the motivations of the individual.

RatioEdit

  • The motive of an individual in accepting the contract offered has nothing to do with his right to recover under the contract.
  • Neither mutual consent nor communication of assent is important in case of reward.

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