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Foakes v. Beer

House of Lords
(1884) 9 App. Cas. 605


Facts

Julia Beer (plaintiff) secured a judgment against John Foakes (defendant) for £2,090 plus interest. Foakes was unable to pay immediately and asked Beer if he could pay over time. Foakes and Beer entered an agreement whereby Foakes agreed to pay £500 up front, and Beer agreed not to pursue judicial enforcement of the judgment on the condition that Foakes make payments of £150 every six months until the £2,090 was paid in full. The agreement did not expressly refer to the interest owed on the judgment. Foakes made payments every six months until he completed payment under the agreement’s terms. But Beer then filed suit against him to recover interest. Foakes argued that the parties’ agreement was an enforceable contract that prevented Beer from judicially enforcing the interest on the judgment. In response, Beer argued that the agreement was not an enforceable contract because it was not supported by sufficient consideration. The trial court held in favor of Foakes, but the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the agreement wasn’t an enforceable contract because it lacked consideration. Foakes appealed to the House of Lords.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Selborne, L.C.)

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