BALFOUR v BALFOUR [1919] 2 KB 571




ICLR: King’s/Queen’s Bench Division/1919/Volume 2/BALFOUR v. BALFOUR. – [1919] 2 K.B. 571

[1919] 2 K.B. 571



1919 June 24, 25.



Decision of Sargant J. reversed.

APPEAL from a decision of Sargant J., sitting as an additional judge of the King’s Bench Division.

The plaintiff sued the defendant (her husband) for money which she claimed to be due in respect of an agreed allowance of 30l. a month. The alleged agreement was entered into under the following circumstances. The parties were married in August, 1900. The husband, a civil engineer, had a post under the Government of Ceylon as Director of Irrigation, and after the marriage he and his wife went to Ceylon, and lived there together until the year 1915, except that in 1906 they paid a short visit to this country, and in 1908 the wife came to England in order to undergo an operation, after which she returned to Ceylon. In November, 1915, she came to this country with her husband, who was on leave. They remained in England until August, 1916, when the husband’s leave was up and he had to return. The wife however on the doctor’s advice remained in England. On August 8, 1916, the husband being about to sail, the alleged parol agreement sued upon was made. The plaintiff, as appeared from the judge’s note, gave the following evidence of what took place: “In August, 1916, defendant’s leave was up. I was suffering from rheumatic arthritis. The doctor advised my staying in England for some months, not to go out till November 4. On August 8 my husband sailed. He gave me a cheque from 8th to 31st for 24l., and promised to give me 30l. per month till I returned.” Later on she said: “My husband and I wrote the figures together on August 8; 34l. shown. Afterwards he said 30l.” In cross-examination she said that they had not agreed to live apart until subsequent differences arose between them, and that the agreement of August, 1916, was one which might be made by a couple in amity. Her husband in consultation with her assessed her needs, and said he would send 30l. per month for her maintenance. She further said that she then understood that the defendant would be returning to England in a few months, but that he afterwards wrote to her suggesting that they had better remain apart. In March, 1918, she commenced proceedings for restitution of conjugal rights, and on July 30 she obtained a decree nisi. On December 16, 1918, she obtained an order for alimony.


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