Tweddle v Atkinson

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William Tweddle v Atkinson
Decided 1861
Citation(s) [1861] EWHC QB J57], (1861) 1 B&S 393, 121 ER 762
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Wightman J, Crompton J, Blackburn J
privity, consideration

Tweddle v Atkinson [1861] EWHC QB J57, (1861) 1 B&S 393, 121 ER 762 is an English contract law case concerning the principle of privity of contract and consideration.


William Tweddle was engaged to a Miss Guy. The groom's father entered into an agreement with the bride's father, William Guy, to pay the groom, William Tweddle, £200 if he paid the groom £100, all of which was recorded in a written contract. However, William Guy subsequently died, and the estate would not pay. The groom then sued William Guy's estate for the promised £200, namely the estate executor Mr Atkinson.


His suit was not successful as it was held no stranger to the consideration can take advantage of a contract, although made for his benefit. It was left unanswered if the groom's father could have successfully sued the estate instead.


The courts ruled that a promisee cannot bring an action unless the consideration from the promise moved from him. Consideration must move from party entitled to sue upon the contract. No legal entitlement is conferred on third parties to an agreement. Third parties to a contract do not derive any rights from that agreement nor are they subject to any burdens imposed by it.

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