Can anyone help with a contract law problem question
I have attempted to answer a previous year exam question relating to consideration and think I may be overlooking a key area The question was along the lines of 'Bob agrees to complete a repair on his friends washing machine as a favour, charging only £20 for parts. This is agreed by his friend. When Bob attempts to fix the machine, there is additional work required and the parts cost him £80. His friend refuses to pay'
I would have answered that a claim would fail by Bob as he has not given his his friend opportunity to accept the revised figures. There is therefore a lack of consideration moving from the friend. Although I also understand that often, judges will look to enforce contracts that would usually fail for lack of consideration, on a matter of public policy (although I would find it difficult to associate any basis of an argument for this) or indeed, go to exceptional lengths to enforce a contract where there is insufficient consideration (as in Ward v Byham, with regards to existing obligations) I am finding it difficult to reach a conclusion and this worries me greatly! I'm also unsure if I am going off track when considering Taylor v Laird, re communication of offers, given the terms have changes so much and the friend had not been given opportunity to accept or decline.
I wouldn't even say there's a contract on those facts - agreement between friends to do something 'as a favour' sounds like no intention to create legal relations.
Even if there was a contract for £20, there's nothing much to say about Bob's demand for £80 instead. Bob's friend hasn't agreed to it at all and obviously one party can't unilaterally change the contract without the other's agreement. If Bob's friend had initially agreed to pay the extra but subsequently refused, then there might have been an argument along the lines of Williams v Roffey Bros. But Bob's friend hasn't agreed to pay £80, so it's not a question of consideration, it's just a question of never agreeing in the first place.
Make sure you've read the question correctly as there is basically nothing to say about it at present!
I'm a little unsure at the moment as to whether I am understanding the question properly:
Manuel has recently moved into a shared house with several of his friends; the
house is in need of some renovation. Because he is a qualified plumber,
Manuel has completely refurbished the bathroom in his spare time, including
plumbing in a new shower. His housemates had promised to contribute towards
a new shower before work started, but the state of the bathroom was so bad
that Manuel just decided spontaneously to refurbish the whole room. His
housemates were so pleased about the finished bathroom that they
subsequently offered to pay £50 each towards the cost.
Manuel also enters into an agreement with Boris to install his (Boris’s) new
washing machine. He agrees to charge Boris £20, as he believes that it will be
a straightforward job, but the job ends up costing him £80 in parts alone due to
the extra plumbing needed.
Manuel comes to you for advice because his housemates are now refusing to
pay the £50 towards the bathroom, claiming that Manuel had done it ‘to be
friendly’. He also wants to know if he can charge Boris the full cost of his
washing machine installation as he says “it’s not fair: it ended up costing me
I would have replied with regards to the bathroom that Re Mcardle would have been applicable, on the basis that the rule in Lampleigh v Braithwait could not be used as they only promised to pay on the basis of the shower, therefore the subsequent promise of cash on the basis of the entire bathroom had no consideration.
With regards to Manuel, whilst I am aware the principle regarding everyday social arrangements is against finding for intention to create legal relations, this may be rebutted by the notion of mutuality, as held in Simpkins v Pays? Although even if this were the case, I would then be inclined to advise there was inadequate consideration with regards to the revised finances.
Thank you for your help, I'm studying so much that I think my logic is going a little off track.