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Submitted To: Submitted By:

Mrs. Visalakshi Vegesna Indu Jatav

Asst. Professor 2nd Semester
RMLNLU Roll No.- 65


My Vocabulary falls short on words to express my heartily gratitude towards my Law of

Contract teacher Mrs. Visalakshi Vegesna who gave me such a wonderful project to work upon

Also I would like to thank the Prestigious Library of RMLNLU with the material of which I
was able to supplement this Project.

I would like to take out this moment lastly but certainly not the least to Thank my Parents and
the almighty under whose blessings I concluded this Project. I acknowledge the support of all
the aforesaid.

Thank You

Indu Jatav



Case Name – Balfour Vs. Balfour

Citation - [1919] 2 KB 571

Date of Judgement - 25 June 1919

PETITIONER : Mr. Balfour

RESPONDENT : Mrs. Balfour


1. Lord Atkin

2. Lord Warrington

3. Lord Duke


This is a judgment pronounced by Court of Appeal in England cited as in [1919] 2 K.B.

571. This case has been authority in itself for the principles set in the case not only in

England but also in our country where it is cited in several cases and accepted by Hon’ble

Courts. We have discussed this case in detail in several cases discussed later by us. Balfour v.

Balfour, three quarters of a century after it was decided, remains a leading case.

Mr. Balfour is the Defendant and Mrs. Balfour is the Plaintiff in the given case. The two lived

in Ceylon and visited England on a vacation. The plaintiff remained in England for medical

treatment. The defendant has agreed to send her a specific amount of money each month until

she could return. The defendant later asked to remain separated. Mrs. Balfour sued for

restitution of her conjugal rights and for alimony equal to the amount her husband had agreed

to send.

Mrs. Balfour obtained a decree nisi and five months later was granted an order for alimony.

The lower court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff and held that the defendant’s

promise to send money was enforceable. The court held that Mrs. Balfour’s consent was

sufficient consideration to render the contract enforceable and the defendant appealed.


The plaintiff sued the defendant (her husband) for money which she claimed to be due in

respect of an agreed allowance of 30. a month. The alleged agreement was entered into under

the following circumstances. The parties were married in August, 1900. The husband, a civil

engineer, had a post under the Government of Ceylon as· Director of Irrigation, and after the

marriage he and his wife went to Ceylon, and lived there together until the_year 1915, except

that in 1906 they paid a short visit to this country, and in 1908 the wife came to England in

order to undergo an operation, after which she returned to Ceylon. In November, 1915, she

came to this country with her husband, who was on leave. They remained in England until

August, 1916, when the husband's leave was up and he had to return. The wife however on

the doctor's advice remained in England. This understanding was made while their

relationship was fine; however the relationship later soured. The plaintiff alleged that the

defendant before returning to Ceylon entered into the above agreement. The parties

remaining apart, the plaintiff subsequently obtained a. decree nisi for restitution of conjugal

rights, and an order for alimony.

Held, that the alleged agreement did not constitute a legal contract, but was only an ordinary

domestic arrangement which could not be sued upon. Mutual promises made in the ordinary

domestic relationship of husband and wife do not of necessity give cause for action on a



Sargant J. ( Additional judge ) held that the husband was under an obligation to support his

wife, and the parties had contracted that the extent of that obligation should be defined in terms

of so much a month. The consent of the wife to that arrangement was a sufficient consideration

to constitute a contract which could be sued upon . He accordingly gave judgment for the


Warrington L.J. held that it was merely a domestic arrangement such as may be made every

day between a husband and wife who are living together in friendly intercourse. i.e. These two

people never intended to make a bargain which could be enforced in law. There was not any

legal intention to create a contract. He overruled the judgement of Sargant J.

Duke L.J. held that there was no consideration moving on the part of the wife to husband or

promise by the husband to the wife which was sufficient to sustain this action founded B on

contract. He further said that at the time , the agreement took place there was not any separation

between them and the period of absence was a period of absence as between husband and wife

living in amity.

Atkin L.J held that the promise here was not intended by either party to be attended by legal

consequences. I think the onus was upon the plaintiff, and the plaintiff has not established any

contract. He said that it was only a parol agreement which won’t result in any contract. He

further said the judgment of the Court below was wrong and that this appeal should be allowed.


1. Whether there was any legal intention to create the above said contract

or not ?

In this view Barrington-Ward K.O. and Du Parcq argued for the appellant that there

was not any legal intention to create the contract as the agreement was purely domestic

agreement intended to take effect until the wife should rejoin her husband.

It cannot be regarded as a binding contract. The wife gave no consideration for the


On the evidence it is submitted that this was a temporary domestic arrangement caused

by the absence of Husband abroad, and was not intended to have a contractual


This is not contract and this is not contract because the parties did not intend that ---

they should be attended by legal consequences.

It is essential that both the parties should intend that an agreement be legally binding

so as to become enforceable.

2. Was there any separation between them at the time, agreement between

the husband and the wife took place?

This issue was tackle by judement of Lord Duke . He said that at the time agreement

took place there was not any separation between them and the period of absence was a

period of absence as between husband and wife living in amity.

3. Does the fact that they were husband and wife matter ?

Yes as a matter of fact this matters that they were married because court does not

interfere the spouses in day to day affairs. To light the above statement Lord Atkn said

that there are agreements between parties which do not result in contracts within the

meaning of that term in our law. The ordinary example is where two parties agree to

take a walk together, or where there is an offer and an acceptance of hospitality. Nobody

would suggest in ordinary circumstances that those agreements result in what we know

as a contract, and one of the most usual forms of agreement which does not constitute

a contract appears to me to be the arrangements which are made between husband.

Agreements made between husbands and wives are not generally contracts as the parties do
not intend to be legally bound by the agreements.

The agreement was not enforceable because the parties did not intend to create legal relations. This

is so even though there may have been consideration. Agreements between spouses ‘are not

contracts because the parties did not intend that they should be attended by legal

consequences.’ The parties, ‘in the inception of the arrangement, never intended that they

should be sued upon.’ To permit them to be enforced would burden the small courts with

numerous claims. Domestic agreements of this nature [between spouses] are outside the realm

of contract altogether. Atkin LJ also noted that ‘The consideration that really obtains for

[spouses] is that natural love and affection which counts for so little in these cold courts.’ The

onus was on the plaintiff to prove intent and she failed



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1. Contracts and specific relief Act by Avatar Singh