Balfour vs Balfour case is the most important case law in the Law of Contracts. It is related to the intention to create legal relations between the contracting parties and it is one of the most important parts of the essential elements of a valid contract. Whereas, the intention to create legal relations has been defined as “An intention to enter into a contract or agreement which legally binds the parties.”
In the Court of Additional Judge of King’s Bench Division, it was held that there was an existing valid contract between the husband and wife. Later, the aggrieved party i.e. husband filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal (Civil Division).
Facts of the Case
Balfour vs Balfour case in 1919, the parties are husband and wife who lived in Sri Lanka and came back to England for some time. At this time, the wife fell ill and she was not able to return with her husband to Sri Lanka. While the husband promised his wife to pay some amount of money. After some time, the husband stopped paying a certain amount to his wife.
Later the wife filed suit against the husband for breach of contract in the court of Additional Judge of King’s Bench Division. And, the court held that there is a contract between the husband and wife and the husband made liable to pay the amount of money to the wife.
After that husband filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). The court held the following judgment;
In the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Lord Atkin held that the husband is not made liable for any amount of money to his wife because the husband promised to pay a certain amount of money to his wife when she is in England but the wife does not give his consideration. Therefore, there is no existence of a contract between the husband and wife.
In this judgment, the presumption is that there is no intention to create a legal relationship to form a contract. Whereas, to create legal relations between the contracting party is an essential element of a valid contract.
Balfour vs Balfour case study gives rise to the importance of the intention to create legal relations between the contracting parties to form a valid contract.
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