In Lampleigh v Braithwaite (1615) the defendant had committed murder and was found guilty and sentenced to hang accordingly. The defendant asked the plaintiff to get him a pardon and the plaintiff was successful in doing so. The defendant then promised the plaintiff £100 for his efforts but later refused to pay. It was held that the plaintiff was entitled to his reward because the act was done at the request of the defendant.
In Re McArdle (1951) the plaintiff had made some renovations and repairs to her father-in-law’s bungalow. The father-in-law had left the property first to his wife for life and subsequently on trust for her husband and his four siblings. The siblings later, once the work had been completed, promised to pay the plaintiff a certain amount for the work that had been done. The payment was not made and the plaintiff brought an action against the defendants but was unsuccessful because past consideration is not valid consideration or is no consideration.
In R v Clark (1927) (High Court of Australia) there was a reward for information given leading to the arrest of several murderers. Clark gave the information but at the time he did so he had forgotten about the reward that was offered. He later tried to claim the reward but was denied by a court because at the time that he had given the information he gave no thought to the reward.
In Eastwood v Kenyon (1840) the guardian of a young girl educated her on the promise that the young lady would repay the debt once she’d come of age. The young lady, once she’d come of age, did make some repayments but soon after married, following which, her husband promised to repay the loan on her behalf. The husband failed to do so and the guardian brought an action against him. It was held that while the husband had a moral obligation to honor his promise there was no legal obligation to do so.
In Roscola v Thomas (1842) the seller of a horse made an assertion after the offer and acceptance had been concluded or after the agreement had passed that the horse was free from vice. Following the sale, the buyer brought an action against the seller claiming that the assertion was untrue but his action was unsuccessful because the assertion was made after the sale was concluded.
In Tweddle v. Atkinson (1861) the parents of the bride and groom agreed to pay a certain sum to the groom upon his marriage to the bride. The bride’s father died before the payment could be made and the groom brought a claim against his estate. The court ruled that because consideration did not move from him, he was unable to claim i.e. a party who has not provided consideration for the promise cannot enforce the promise.
In Currie v Misa (1875) it was held that consideration from the perspective of the law may consist of some right, benefit, interest or profit accruing to the party or some loss, sufferance, detriment, or responsibility incurred by the party.
In Dillwyn v Llewelyn (1862), a father signed a memorandum leaving his son his farm so that he could build a dwelling or a home on it. The son built a house incurring considerable expenses in so doing, with the knowledge and approval of his father, but the father died without transferring the farm to his son and upon his death his estate sought to gain control of the farm and the plaintiff brought the matter before a judge.
It was held that the son was entitled to the farm. As per the doctrine of promissory estoppel – when one party makes a promise to another party and the second party relies on the promise and acts to his or her detriment than that promise is a valid promise and is a promise that is enforceable at law.
“A voluntary agreement will not be completed or assisted by a Court of Equity, in cases of mere gift. If anything be wanting to complete the title of the donee, a Court of Equity will not assist him in obtaining it; for a mere donee can have no right to claim more than he has received. But the subsequent acts of the donor may give the donee that right or ground of claim which he did not acquire from the original gift. So if A puts B in possession of a piece of land, and tells him, “I give it to you that you may build a house on it,” and B on the strength of that promise, with the knowledge of A, expends a large sum of money in building a house accordingly, I cannot doubt that the donee acquires a right from the subsequent transaction to call on the donor to perform that contract and complete the imperfect donation which was made. The case is somewhat analogous to that of verbal agreement not binding originally for the want of the memorandum in writing signed by the party to be charged, but which becomes binding by virtue of the subsequent part performance.” – Lord Westbury LC.