See more information The points of difference between the two parties appear to be comparatively small, and it is distressing that they could not settle their differences amicably and avoid the bitterness and expense which is involved in this dispute carried as far as this court. Both mother and daughter come from Trinidad and appear to be of East Indian descent. At the opening of the story in the mother was resident in Trinidad.
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See more information The points of difference between the two parties appear to be comparatively small, and it is distressing that they could not settle their differences amicably and avoid the bitterness and expense which is involved in this dispute carried as far as this court. Both mother and daughter come from Trinidad and appear to be of East Indian descent. At the opening of the story in the mother was resident in Trinidad. The daughter who had been married to and divorced from a Mr Wyatt was living in a flat in Washington, D.
A suggestion was made that she might go to England in order to read for the Bar in England and, if she became a qualified barrister, then to go to Trinidad and practise as a lawyer there.
She points to her very satisfactory job with the Indian Embassy in Washington and her flat, and claims to have been unwilling to go to England, and to have been induced by extreme pressure. Her mother intimated that if her daughter would go and read for the Bar as suggested, she would provide maintenance for her at the rate of dollars a month.
Unfortunately, the mother Mrs Jones was thinking in West Indian dollars in which dollars was equal to 42 a month, and the daughter, living in Washington, was thinking in U.
The two were plainly not ad idem then, but the daughter, when she received only 42 per month, seems to have accepted that sum without anything much in the way of protest. Mr Agimudie in a contemporary letter assured the daughter that, of course, maintenance would be provided for her. So the daughter went to England in November and entered upon her studies for the Bar. She took her son, Tommy, with her. The precise terms of the arrangement between mother and daughter were difficult to discover completely.
There is no doubt that the daughter gave consideration for a promise by her mother to provide maintenance at the rate of 42 per month so long as she was reading for the Bar in England by giving up her job and her other advantages in Washington, and by reading for the Bar But various incidental matters appear never to have been thought out at all.
In fact the daughter has passed all the examinations in Part I except one, but Part II is still to be taken. The question therefore arises whether any binding legal contract was intended, or whether this was simply a family arrangement, in which one member of the family relies on a promise given by another person and trusts that person to carry out the promise. But such an arrangement is not intended to create actionable legal rights. The situation so far has been called "step one".
But in a new element was introduced The daughter was experiencing some discomfort in England. She, with Tommy, was occupying one room in Acton, for which she had to pay 6. In the mother made a proposal that aha should buy a house in London of some size so that the daughter and Tommy could live in a room or in rooms in the house, and the rest of the house could be let off to tenants, and the rents would cover expenses and provide maintenance for the daughter and Tommy in place of the 42 a month.
It is not clear whether Mrs Jonas had in mind a profitable investment in England, or wished to avoid the inconvenience of remitting 42 a month to England, or whether she simply had in mind the difficulties that her daughter was experiencing.
At any rate, a house, No. The price was 6, and moneys were provided by Mrs Jones in several sums for this. But there were also expenses of the purchase, as well as other expenses, and furniture, as it was desirable that the tenancies should be of furnished rooms. The moneys provided by Mrs Jones were insufficient to provide for all these things; until furniture was provided, there could be no tenants The purchase was completed in December , and the daughter and Tommy went into occupation on the 31st January Somehow money was found to buy furniture, and tenants began to arrive in February The daughter had a power of attorney from her mother.
In fact she occupied not only one room but also a kitchen, and a so-called store room, where various things were stored, but Tommy slept there. This has been called "step two". The question again arises; Was there any legally binding contract, or was it just an informal family arrangement? The daughter had been married on the 6th January to a Mr Padavatton, who is a lecturer at the London School of Economics, I understand, but it is not clear what part ha has played in these matters.
The new arrangement, or the varied old arrangement, whatever it may be, continued until November , The mother, who had also visited England in , came again to England in August Mrs Jones, it should be observed, has never received any money from the rents of the house, and she was paying substantial interest on a mortgage on property in Trinidad by which she had raised money for the purchase of the house. But nothing really depends on that. Mrs Jones, who had complained that she could not get any accounts from her daughter, had consulted English solicitors, and before this a summons by the mother against the daughter had been taken out claiming possession of the house, and particulars of claim were delivered dated the 4th July Of course, the house is the property of Mrs Jones.
The mother Mrs Jones had given notice to quit on the 20th March A defence and counterclaim dated the 11th August had been delivered, which was amended on the 31st February On the 11th January the learned county court judge decided against the mother and dismissed the claim for possession.
He gave judgment on the counterclaim in favour of the daughter and referred the matter to the registrar. Before us a great deal of time was spent on discussions as to what were the terms of the arrangement between the parties, and it seemed to ma that the further the discussions went, the more obscure and uncertain the terms alleged became.
I think. There was a lack of evidence on the matter, and the members of the court were induced to supply suggestions based on their personal knowledge. At any rate, two questions emerged for argument: 1 Were the arrangements such as they were intended to produce legally binding agreements, or were they simply family arrangements depending for their fulfilment on good faith and trust, and not legally enforceable by legal proceedings? Mr Dillon argued strenuously for the view that the parties intended to create legally binding contracts.
Be relied upon the old case of Shadwell v. Clark, 1 Weekly Law Reports, His stand-by was Balfour v. Of course, there is no difficulty, if they so intend, in members of families entering into legally binding contracts in regard to family affairs. A competent equity draftsman would, if properly instructed, have no difficulty in drafting such a contract.
But there is possibly in family affairs a presumption against such an intention which, of course, can be rebutted. Balfour at pp. There is no doubt that this case is a most difficult one, but I have reached a conclusion that the present case is one of those family arrangements which depend on the good faith of the promises which are made and are not intended to be rigid, binding agreements.
Balfour v. Balfour was a ease of husband and wife, but there is no doubt that the same principles apply to dealings between other relations, such as father and son and daughter and mother This, indeed, seems to me a compelling case.
Mrs Jones and her daughter seem to have been on very good terms before The mother was arranging for a career for her daughter which she hoped would lead to success. This involved a visit to England in conditions which could not be wholly foreseen. It was not a stiff contractual operation any more than the original arrangement. What the position is as regards the counterclaim is another matter. It may be that, at least in honesty, the daughter should be reimbursed for the expenditure which she had incurred.
In my opinion, therefore, the appeal should be allowed. The daughter alleges that there was such an agreement, and the mother denies it. She says that there was nothing but a loose family arrangement which had no legal effect. The onus la clearly on the daughter There is no dispute that the parties entered into some sort of arrangement. It really depends upon a whether the parties intended it to be legally binding, and b If so, whether it was sufficiently certain to be enforceable.
Did the parties intend the arrangement to be legally binding? This question has to be solved by applying what is sometimes although perhaps unfortunately called an objective teat. The court has to consider what the parties said and wrote in the light of all the surrounding circumstances, and then decide whether the true inference is that the ordinary man and woman, speaking or writing thus in much circumstances, would have intended to create a legally binding agreement.
Mr Sparrow has said, quite rightly, that as a rule when arrangements are made between close relations, for example, between husband and wife, parent and child or uncle and nephew in relation to an allowance, there is a presumption against an intention of creating any legal relationship.
This is not a presumption of law, but of fact, It derives from experience of life and human nature which shows that in such circumstances men and woman usually do not intend to create legal rights and obligations, but intend to rely solely on family ties of mutual trust and affection. There may, however, be circumstances In which this presumption, like all other presumptions of fact, can be rebutted.
Mr Dillon has drawn our attention to two cases in which it was, Shadwell v. The former was a curious case It was decided by Chief Justice Erle, and Mr Justice Keating, Mr Justice Byles dissenting On a pleading point, and depended largely upon the true construction of a letter written by an uncle to his nephew. I confess that I should have decided it without hesitation in accordance with the views of Mr Justice Byles.
But this is of no consequence. Shadwell v. Shadwell laid down no principle of law relevant to what we have to decide; it merely illustrated what could never, I think, be seriously doubted, namely, that there may be circumstances in which arrangements between close relatives are intended to have the force of law. On the facts as found by the learned county court judge this was entirely different from the ordinary case of a mother promising her daughter an allowance whilst the daughter read for the Bar, or a father promising his eon an allowance at university if the son passes the necessary examinations to gain admission The daughter hare was thirty-four years of age in She had left Trinidad and settled in Washington as long ago as This employment carried a pension.
She had a son of seven years of age who was an American citizen, and had, of course, already begun his education. There were obviously solid reasons for her staying where aha was.
For some years prior to , however, her mother, who lived in Trinidad, had been trying hard to persuade her to throw up all that she had achieved in Washington and go to London to read for the Bar. The mother would have been very proud to have a barrister for a daughter. She also thought that her plan was in the interest of her grandson, to whom she was much attached. She envisaged that, after her daughter had been called to the Bar, she would practice in Trinidad and thereafter presumably she the mother would be able to see much more of her daughter than formerly.
The point was made by Mr Sparrow that the parties cannot have had a contractual intention since it would be unthinkable for the daughter to be able to sue the mother if the mother fell upon hard times. I am afraid that I am not impressed by this point. The evidence which the learned county court judge accepted showed that the mother was a woman of some substance, and prior to the agreement had assured her daughter that there would be no difficulty in finding the money.
The fact that a contracting party is in some circumstances unlikely to extract his pound of flash does not mean that he has no right to it. Even today sometimes people forbear from mercy to enforce their undoubted legal rights. The next point made by Mr Sparrow was that the arrangements between the mother and daughter in were too uncertain to constitute a binding contract.
Obviously she meant West Indian dollars. The daughter says that she thought her mother meant U. This point does not, however, appear to have given rise to any difficulty.
For two years from November until December the mother regularly paid her daughter 42, the equivalent of West Indian dollars a month, and the daughter accepted this sum without demur.
Jones v Padavatton  EWCA Civ 4
Jones v Padavatton This case summary looks at the case between Jones v Padavatton. This is a family dispute where a girl was persuaded by her mother to give her job in the city of New York in the USA. The condition was that she went to study for the Bar in London. On completion of her studies the girl was to return to practice law in Trinidad where her mother lived. In order to do this the girl also had to leave her well paid role at the Indian embassy in Washington.
Jones v Padavatton: CA 29 Nov 1968
Jones v Padavatton 1969
Jones v Padavatton