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Nichols v. Raynbred

1)          Dependency of mutual promises--Nichols v. Raynbred, 88 (K.B. 1615).

a)          Facts. Nichols (P) agreed to deliver a cow to Raynbred (D) for 50 shillings. P did not aver the delivery of the cow, but sought instead to recover the 50 shillings. The trial court ruled that, because a promise was given for a promise, P did not need to plead that he had, in fact, delivered the cow.

b)          Issue. Will the court imply a constructive condition that a party must perform its part of the agreement before recovering on the other party's obligation?

c)          Held. No. Judgment affirmed. A party who accepts a promise for a promise may recover without pleading his own perfor­mance.

d)          Comment. This case illustrates the old common law doctrine of "dependency of mutual promises." Today, courts would im­ply a constructive condition that P must perform his promise before seeking recovery on D's return promise.

b.           Background. The doctrine of constructive (implied-in-Iaw) conditions sterns from the landmark case of Kingston v. Preston (below), in which Lord Mansfield denounced the hardships imposed by construing the parties' promises in that case to be independent and brought forth the doctrine of constructive conditions to correct the situation.



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