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Beswick v Beswick (1966) 3 W.L.R. 396

Facts:

P sold company to N. After P died N was to pay 5$ to W per week. N paid once and stopped. W is executrix of Ps estate/she sues N

Issue(s):

Can a 3rd party beneficiary sue on a contract to which they are not a contracting party?

Ratio:

The contacting party is entitled by himself, alone, or jointly with the 3rd person, to have the contract performed to its terms, and the court will decree specific performance for it.

General rule can’t get specific performance for just a payment of a sum of money

Analysis:

When a contract is made for the benefit of a 3rd person who has a legitimate interest to enforce it, it can be enforced by the 3rd person in the name of the contracting party or jointly with him, or if he refuses to join by adding him as a defendant - This was NOT upheld by the House of Lords.

3rd party provides no consideration for the promise. No 3rd person can sue or be sued on a contract to which he is not a party – rule of procedure.

Recognize that exectutor or contracting party can get a decree of specific performance.

Holding:

Wife can sue – but only as executrix and for specific performance, not as a 3rd party

Comments:

Wife, if sued, would only get nominal damages bc contracting party suffered no loss


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