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    Post: Explain the statement ‘consideration must be sufficient but

    Posted by kier on 3/31/06

    What is the statement ‘consideration must be sufficient
    but need not be adequate’ means that consideration must
    be sufficient in law [however need not be adequate but
    sufficient]. There must the possibility of some value
    capable of expression in economic term to the original
    promise but need not be adequate (far) as matter of
    commercial exchange. Thus, a gratuitous promise or
    ‘agreement’ cannot enforceable as a contract. Natural
    love and affection is also not sufficient consideration,
    likewise sentimental motive. Therefore, the Court will not
    investigate its adequacy and see if the parties have got
    equal value. It can be summarized that the limitation to
    this doctrine as merely doing something to entitle
    yourself to a gift will not provide sufficient
    consideration , and nor will giving something you were not
    entitle to give. For example, if I offer to sell you my
    house for £1, this is valid consideration. If I offer to
    give you my house for nothing, there is no consideration
    and this agreement could not be enforceable.
    In the case of Thomas v. Thomas, the promise to pay £1 per
    annum rent was irrelevant to the fact of ‘sufficient’ to
    pay for commercial rent. The Courts did not consider the
    issue of ‘adequacy’ to pay. The rule is well established
    in the case of Chappell v. Nestle Co Ltd that
    ‘consideration only needs to be sufficient not
    adequate’. This case, dispute was centred on whether
    chocolate wrapper could form part of the consideration. It
    was held that they could as they were of value to the
    person providing them and were therefore sufficient
    consideration for the promise made. Whether or not
    consideration is sufficient, that shall be a subjective
    test. So, it justified the Courts approached to the issue
    of ‘adequacy’ by reference to ‘freedom of contract’.
    The contracting parties could stipulate for what
    consideration that they had been chosen. The Courts would
    not interfere just because it appears that a person had
    made a bad bargain. The reasoning of Chappell was
    presumably that the requirement to send in the worthless
    wrappers would encourage more people to buy the company
    It can be summarized the points of law and arguments in
    the above for the statement ‘consideration must be
    sufficient but need not be adequate’. When considering
    ‘value’, the Courts is not interested in ‘adequacy’ of
    consideration, i.e. whether the price is ‘fair’, it is
    only concerned with whether or not the consideration can
    be expressed in terms of economic worth. Hence,
    intangibles such as emotions (respect for a husband’s
    wishes, love and affection), lack of boredom – Thomas v.
    Thomas and White v. Bluett are not valuable consideration.
    Provided, however that the consideration has some economic
    value to you, as long as it has some economic purpose –
    Chappell v. Nestle.
    This explains White v Bluett (1853) where a son’s promise
    to stop complaining to his father about the distribution
    of the father’s property was held to be incapable of
    amounting to consideration.

    Posts on this thread, including this one
  • Explain the statement ‘consideration must be sufficient but , 3/31/06, by kier.

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