Eastwood v Kenyon – Case Summary

Eastwood v Kenyon

High Court

Citations: (1840) 11 Adolphus and Ellis 438; 113 ER 482.


A father made a will leaving everything to his infant daughter. He appointed the claimant as executor. The father later bought another piece of land using a mortgage and began to build cottages on this land. Before the cottages were complete, he died.

The claimant then acted as the daughter’s guardian and administered the estate on her behalf. He was not paid for this service. The claimant spent a large amount of money in educating her, completing the cottages and paying off the mortgage. The estate turned out to be insufficient, so the claimant used some of his own money and took out a loan.

The daughter then came of age. She assented to the claimant’s loan and promised to pay it off. She later married, and her husband repeated this promise. However, when the loan became due the couple refused to pay. They argued that there was no binding contractual agreement between the parties because the claimant had not provided consideration for their promises to pay.

  1. Had the claimant provided good consideration for the couple’s promises to pay off the loan?

The Court held against the claimant. The claimant’s actions happened before the husband and daughter’s promises, and so were past consideration. This was not good consideration. There was therefore no contract.

This Case is Authority For…

Past consideration is not good consideration.


The court noted that enforcing all seriously intended promises without consideration would cause ‘mischievous consequences to society’: particularly a flood of legal claims.