Coal business transferred in return for annuity to seller’s widow after
Annuity not paid to widow.
House of Lords affirmed orthodox approach –
Held widow could not sue in her personal capacity.
However, allowed her to sue in her capacity as administratix – in effect
party to the contract.
General rule is that plaintiff can only recover for his own loss.
Reiterated traditional approach –
Promisee’s estate could recover no more than nominal damages as it had
suffered no loss.
But applied discretionary equitable remedy:
Award of mere nominal damages unjust in this case, so
Damages inadequate and specific performance appropriate
for number of reasons:
1. Damages would
not have taken account of loss to 3rd party and would have been
promisor had received full benefit of contract.
3. Had business
not been transferred, defaulting promisor could have obtained SP.
4. SP more
appropriate remedy for promise to make a series of payments than succession of damages
actions brought as each payment fell due.