Gandy v Gandy (1885) 30 Ch. D 57

Contract law – Deed of separation – Covenant with trustees

Facts

As part of a deed of separation between husband and wife, the husband agreed to pay the trustees an annual sum of money for his wife and two eldest daughters to use. The husband also agreed to pay for the education of the two youngest daughters. The agreement also required the younger daughters live somewhere at his expense and on the basis that both the husband and wife had reasonable access to them. The trustees agreed to indemnify him against liability and that the wife did not bring proceedings for further payments. When one of the youngest daughters turned sixteen years of age, the husband refused to pay any maintenance. The daughter brought an action against the husband to enforce the deed of separation. The wife also claimed further maintenance payments on the basis that the husband had committed adultery and she had been given custody of the two younger children.

Issue

The primary issue for the court to consider was whether the daughter could enforce the deed of separation that had been previously agreed by her parents. A secondary issue to this was whether, having been given custody of the two younger children, whether the wife could claim for an increase in financial assistance from the father.

Held

On the construction of the deed, the daughter plaintiff was not in a position to claim under the agreement between husband and wife. However, the writ application to the court could be amended by adding the trustees, wife or elder daughters to include them in the claim. The wife joined the claim as co-plaintiff after the trustees rejected to do so. The court held that the wife could claim for increased maintenance payments, despite the original agreement between the parties which agreed she could not do so.