White v Bluett (1853) 23 LJ Ex 36

Facts

  • A father promised his son money in return for his son’s ceasing to complain about his unequal treatment
  • The son sued for breach of contract when the father refused to pay

Held (Court of Exchequer Chamber)

  • There was no binding contract; the promise not to complain was not valid consideration

Pollock CB

  • “The son had no right to complain, for the father might make what distribution of his property he liked; and the son’s abstaining from doing what he had no right to do can be no consideration.”

Commentary

  • Today the outcome could be better justified on the basis of no intention to create legal relations