Thomas v. Thomas – Case Brief
Thomas v. Thomas (1842) 2 Q.B. 851, 114 E.R. 330.
Facts: On the morning of his death John Thomas orally expressed a desire for his wife to have either the house used as their residence and its contents or 100 pounds, in addition to the other provisions made for her in his will. After his death the executors of his estate entered into an agreement with P “in consideration of John’s desires” whereby P would take possession of the house and in return maintain the house and pay one pound per year for the “ground rent”.
P remained in the house for some time; however after the death of his co-executor, D refused to complete the conveyance. D claimed that consideration was lacking. The court entered judgment in favor of P on all counts and D appealed.
Issue: Will a court look into the adequacy of consideration or the reasons for the bargain if there is a real bargain between the parties?
Holding and Rule:
Denman: No. A court will not look into the adequacy of consideration or the reasons for the bargain if there is a real bargain between the parties.
In this case there is an express agreement, the terms of which show a sufficient legal consideration independent of the moral feeling which led the executors to enter into the agreement. The payment of the ground rent is but part of an express agreement and the moral aspect of this contract merely pertains to the reasons for entering into the contract. We cannot be concerned with the means or reasons that one enters into a bargain if there is valid consideration.
Patteson: It would not be proper to adopt the view urged by D. We cannot mix motive with consideration. Motive is not the same thing as consideration. Consideration exists if there is some benefit to P or some detriment to D. The contract includes provisions requiring P to pay ground rent and make repairs.
Coleridge: It is conceded that mere motive need not be stated. We are not obliged to look for legal consideration in any particular part of an instrument. Merely from the fact that consideration is usually stated in some particular part, ut res magis valeat, we may look to any part. In the usual location for consideration, all that is stated is the desire to fulfill the intentions of the testator. But in another we find an express agreement to pay ground rent and repair. I cannot agree with D that this was a voluntary conveyance as the payment of 1 pound annually is valuable consideration.
Disposition: Discharged – Judgment for P.