Pinnel's Case

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Pinnel's Case [1602] 5 Co. Rep. 117a,[1] also known as Penny v Cole, is an important case in English contract law, on the doctrine of part performance. In it, Sir Edward Coke opined that a part payment of a debt could not extinguish the obligation to pay the whole.


Pinnel sued Cole, in an action of debt upon a bond, for the sum of £8 10s. The defendant, Cole, argued he had, at Pinnel's request, tendered £5 2s 6d before the debt was due, and the plaintiff had accepted in full satisfaction for the debt.


The case reports the judgment as follows.

See also[edit]

  • English contract law
  • Couldery v Bartrum (1881) 19 Ch D 394 at 399, Sir George Jessel MR, "According to English common law a creditor might accept anything in satisfaction of his debt except a less amount of money. He might take a horse, or a canary, or tomtit if he chose, and that was accord and satisfaction; but, by a most extraordinary peculiarity of the English common law he could not take 19 shillings and sixpence in the pound; that was nudum pactum."


  1. ^ Coke, Edward (1826) [1604]. Thomas, John Henry and Fraser, John Farquhar, ed. The Reports of Sir Edward Coke 3. Butterworth's. pp. 238–239. Retrieved 2008-10-11. Pinnel's Case (1602) 5 Co Rep 117a