Errington v Errington woods 1952, Facts, Important Points

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This case is concerned with acceptance in unilateral contracts in offer and acceptance chapter of contract law

Facts of Errington v Errington

A father in law bought a house for his son and daughter in law. The house was fully in the name of the father. He said to his son and daughter in law that the house would be yours if you keep on giving the monthly instalments

The Couple agreed to his offer, but after a few years the father died. The Mother of the son, inherited the house. After the death of the father the son went and started living with his mother, but the wife refused to live with his mother.

The wife still kept on giving the mortgage instalments. After a while mother brought an action against her wife to remove her from the house

Issue:

Whether there was a contract formed between the daughter in law and her father? Would intention to create legal relations satisfy here?

Decision:

As it was held that there was a contract formed between the wife and the father of the son, As the paying of mortgage payments was the performance of the unilateral offer which was made by the father.

And there was intention to create legal relations though the contract was formed between the family. So the courts favoured the wife.

The mother argued that unilateral contracts are only valid when the complete performance is made, But she hasn’t payed the complete mortgage.

The courts said that once the performance of a unilateral offer has started the contract is valid

Important point of Errington v Errington

  • Once the performance of the unilateral offer has started the offeror cannot turn back.
  • Intention to create legal relations can also be made in contracts between families.

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Balfour v Balfour