Legal Principles and Key Points
- In the case of Tweddle v Atkinson 1861 1 B&S 393 it was held that a third party to an agreement cannot sue for a breach of contract even where the benefit of the contract is towards them.
Facts of the Case
- In June of 1851, and agreement stated that in consideration of an intended marriage between the claimant and the naughtier of W.G.,W.T., the father of the claimant, and W.G verbally promised to giver their children marriage portions and that after the marriage W.G and W.T as a mode of giving effect to their said verbal promises, entered into a written agreement, by which was mutually agreed that they should pay the sums of 200l. and 100l. respectively to the claimant.
- It was also agreed that the claimant should have full power to sue for the same in any Court of Law or equity.
- The declaration stated that the plaintiff was the son of John Tweddle, deceased, and before the making of the agreement hereafter mentioned, married the daughter of William Guy, deceased; and before the said marriage of the plaintiff the said William Guy, in consideration of the then intended marriage, promised the plaintiff to give to his said daughter a marriage portion, but the said promise was verbal, and at the time of the making of the said agreement had not been performed; and before the said marriage the said John Tweddle, in consideration of the said intended marriage, also verbally promised to give the plaintiff a marriage portion, which promise at the time of the making of the said agreement had not been performed.
- It then alleged that after the marriage and in the lifetime of the said William Guy, and of the said John Tweddle, they, the said William Guy and John Tweddle, entering into the agreement hereafter mentioned as a mode of giving effect to their said verbal promises; and the said William Guy also entering into the said agreement in order to provide for his said daughter a marriage portion, and to procure a further provision to be made by the said John Tweddle, by means of the said agreement, for his said daughter, and acting for the benefit of his said daughter; and the said John Tweddle also entering into the said agreement in order to provide for the plaintiff a marriage portion, and to procure a further provision to be made by the said William Guy, by means of the said agreement, for the plaintiff, and acting for the benefit of the plaintiff; they the said William Guy and John Tweddle made and entered into an agreement in writing.
- There was a breach and a non-payment of the 200l. by W.G or by the defendant, his executor.
Issues in Tweddle v Atkinson 1861 1 B&S 393
- Whether the son as a third party to the agreement, could enforce the contract between the fathers.
Held by Court of Queen’s Bench
Held that the action was not maintainable, notwithstanding the near relationship to the claimant of the party from whom the consideration moved.
- It was held that consideration moves from the party entitled to sue on the contract.
“Some of the old decisions appear to support the proposition that a stranger to the consideration of a contract may maintain an action upon it, if he stands in such a near relationship to the party from whom the consideration proceeds, that he may be considered a party to the consideration. The strongest of those cases is that cited in Bourne v. Mason (I Ventr. 6), in which it was held that the daughter of a physician might maintain assumpsit upon a promise to her father to give her a sum of money if he performed a certain cure. But there is no modern case in which the proposition has been supported. On the contrary it is now established that no stranger to the consideration can take advantage of a contract, although made for his benefit.” P763-764