This essay sample on Jones Vs Padavatton Case provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
The case of Jones v Padavatton concerned whether or not a legally enforceable contract existed between the parties, in this case a mother and daughter. The judgements of Salmon LJ and Fenton Atkinson LJ, although reaching the same conclusion have very different reasoning. Salmon LJ considered that two main factors needed to be addressed; whether or not the parties had intended a legally binding contract, and whether the terms of the contract were sufficient to be legally enforceable.
The English law operates generally on an objective approach based on what a reasonable person in the position of the parties would have intended. Salmon LJ follows this approach in his judgement, stating it is a presumption of fact that when arrangements are made between family members, they are not intended to create a legal relationship but are rather based on mutual ties of trust and affection.
This presumption was established by Atkins LJ in his explanation of the case Balfour v Balfour and is cited by Salmon LJ, however he does go on to accept that in some circumstances just because a, “Contracting party is unlikely to extend his pound of flesh does not mean he has no legal right to. ” I consider that the principle illustrated by Balfour v Balfour, although fundamental for many cases, may not be so relevant considering the circumstances of this case.
In a society of increased domestic disruption, illustrated through statistics such as rising divorce rates, it is very arguable that family arrangements are becoming more likely to be intended as legally enforceable. In considering the very special circumstances of this case, I consider it is possible to distinguish it from that of Balfour v Balfour and rather follow the approach of Fenton Atkinson LJ, studying the specific intention of the parties rather than the presumption derived from the case of Balfour v Balfour.
Salmon LJ considers the second factor to be addressed is whether the terms of the agreement were sufficient enough to be legally enforceable. He considers the intentions of the daughter were clear- to leave Washington and study for the Bar in England, but did not consider the mother would have intended to give up all her rights concerning the house. The arrangements were too vague to have contractual intent.
Similarly there is no evidence that the mother ever intended her daughter to receive any more than $200 in West-Indian terms, a month maintenance support. On this point I agree with Salmon. In English law, if the terms of an offer are not certain, the resulting agreement can fail. I do not consider that the terms were certain enough to ensure a legally binding contract, and here agree with the explanation from Fenton Atkinson LJ, that the responsibility was for the daughter to establish a contract in relation to the house and she totally failed to do so.
Salmon LJ considered alongside this, that the terns of the offer could not possibly exceed five years from 1962 considering all circumstances of the case, and thus the daughter was entitled to nothing further under the original agreement Salmon LJ concluded his judgement by addressing the counterclaim referred to by the CCJ, and states that a reasonable compromise should be reached on the figures, so as not to exacerbate ill feeling between parties. This view in considered too by Fenton Atkinson LJ.
Fenton Atkinson LJ addresses the issues of consideration and intention in his judgement; issues which I have to consider are far more relevant to the specifics of this case. He addresses several points in his judgement, firstly whether the agreements made between the parties were intended to be legally enforceable, secondly did the mother intend to be legally bound to support her daughter for an uncertain period of time, and thirdly did the daughter assume a contractual obligation to complete her studies.
Fenton Atkinson LJ concludes that consideration was given by the daughter in the form of executed consideration, evident through her move from Washington to London, but does not consider that here consideration can determine whether the parties intended a legally binding contract. The courts generally apply an objective approach when studying intention, however I agree with Collins, who states that this objective approach conflicts with reality.
Fenton Atkinson LJ, following this approach, states that it is the history of this case which most accurately points to the intentions of the parties, and highlights three important factors. Firstly, that the payments of $200 were accepted by the daughter without any indication that the mother was contractually bound to a larger sum, secondly, that when in 1964 The mother bought the property, many matters had been left open, such as the control of rents, and occupation boundaries.
The final factor highlighted, and which I consider to be of huge significance, is the behaviour of the daughter when her mother visited. The daughter was evidently extremely upset that the issue had become litigated, and stated that a mother does not ‘normally’ sue her daughter. This is perhaps the strongest indication that the daughter had never intended legal consequences to arise from the agreement. Fenton Atkinson LJ was satisfied that no legally binding contract had been intended, and the arrangements had been based on mutual trust.
He held that the mothers claim for possession should succeed, and the appeal allowed. Although Salmon LJ and Fenton Atkinson LJ reached the same final judgement, I do not consider that the reasoning of Salmon was as relevant to this case as that of Fenton Atkinson LJ. As I have mentioned above, the objective approach applied by Salmon LJ cannot be applied in every case and may in fact be becoming outdated.
The approach adopted by Fenton Atkinson LJ must be considered more appropriate for the very special circumstances of this case, and I agree that the intention of the parties was best determined through the behavioural history of the mother and her daughter rather than the judgement of Balfour v Balfour. I do not deny that the reasoning of Salmon LJ is that which the majority would be likely to adopt, and agree with many other factors he addresses, such as the judgement of ‘reasonable time’ not exceeding five years. I cannot however conclude that his reasoning is of such relevance to this case, as that of Fenton Atkinson LJ.