Re McArdle 1951 Case Facts

The case of Re McArdle 1951 is about a property dispute arising from the death of William McArdle. When the man died he left his property to his children. He had 5 children so thay all were to receive equal chares in the house. There was also a life interest stated so that his widow could live in the property after his death. One of William’s sons was married to a lady called Mrs Marjorie McArdle, and Marjorie decided to carry out some work on the house in order to improve it. The home improvements amounted to a cost of £499 to which she paid the full amount. Once the repairs on the house were completed, Marjorie asked the rest of William McArdle’s 5 children to sign a document that stated that when William McArdles’s wide died and the was distributed, Marjorie would be repaid the sum of £499 for the repairs to the property. On the death of Mrs McArdle, Marjorie asked for the moneys to be paid, the four other children refused to pay her which resulted in her enforcing the property interest in court.

Case Issues

The issues brought up in the case are as follows, Marjorie McArdle argued that fact the document that was signed by the 4 other sons was legally binding and that it was an equitable assignment of a portion of the other sons which was equivalent to each of their interest in the house which amounted to the sum of £488. This amount was to be taken from the estate. In court the 4 other sons argued that the money paid by Marjorie was a gift as she had not provided any consideration for. She was merely a volunteer and Equity will not assist this and the promise to pay the money back could not be enforced.

Re McArdle 1951 Case Outcome – Held

The court found that the agreement was unenforceable as the transaction had not been completed and it was imperfect. It was not a gift; it was a promise to pay. The work had been completed before Marjorie had requested payment meaning her consideration was in the past. Past consideration is not good consideration so the agreement was not unenforceable.