Q. Sue Smasher was a promising young tennis player. In July 1991, when she was 16, she entered into the separate agreements, both of which were to run until July 1993. No. 1, with Lew Lobb, a noted tennis coach whereby he undertook to organize her training and decide which tournaments she should play in. In return, Sue agreed to act on Lew's advice and pay him 20% of her winnings from tournaments.
No. 2, with Drive Power Ltd, whereby Sue promised to use their sports equipment in return for Drive Power paying all her travel expenses. In July 1992, she disobeyed Lew's instruction to play in the Tournament of the Century in USA where the total prize money was lb 1. 5 mil, and returned to England to defend her title at the East Mouth Championships, where the total prize money was only lb 20, 000. Because these championships would receive far less publicity than the Tournament of the Century, Drive Power refused to pay her airfare from USA. Sue therefore decided not to use their racquets anymore and ordered ten diamond racquets from Hit Firm plc.
These racquets had a genuine diamond fixed into the handle and cost lb 1000 each. After five racquets had been delivered but before any had been paid for, Sue decided to get married and retire from professional tennis. What is the position as to the enforceability of Sue's contracts with Lew Lobb, Drive Power and Hit Firm plc. A.
In Sue's contract with Lew Lobb it comes under the category of beneficial contracts of services, where the minor binds himself / herself on a contract of service or apprenticeship, and these contracts are valid and binding. The minor is bound if the contract as a whole benefit's the minor, as in Clements v London Northwestern Railway Co. She entered into a contract where Lew Lobb undertook to organize her training and decide which tournaments she should play in, which is not at all detrimental to her but instead is highly beneficial. Secondly, the contract must be as a whole, not harsh or oppressive as in De Francesco v Barnum. 20% of her winnings is hardly harsh or oppressive, although this is subjective to different persons' views. Therefore, she is bound by the contract and should follow Lew Lobb's advice and go to play in the Tournament of the Century.
Sue's contract with Drive Power Ltd is a voidable contract as it is a partnership agreement as in Core v Overton, as both parties benefit from each others' actions. She promised to use their sports equipment (this would give them publicity), and Drive Power pays for all her travel expenses. Therefore, as a voidable contract, it is not binding on Sue, and she can cancel it anytime. Drive Power, however, is in breach of contract. Less publicity was not made an issue by Drive Power during the signing of the contract, therefore they cannot use that excuse to not pay her airfare. Drive Power is bound to pay for Sue's flight.
The contract between Sue and Hit Firm plc is a valid and binding contract. Their contract is valid and binding because it is a contract for necessary goods. Based on the case of Peters v Fleming, ten diamond racquets are held to be necessaries for a professional tennis player like Sue. A few criteria must be fulfilled to prove that Sue had breached the contract between Hit Firm plc and herself.
The first condition is that the adult must show that the goods are capable of being necessaries. According to the case of Ryder v Womb well, the ten diamond racquets are necessary for Sue. The second condition is that the goods must be suitable to the status and resources of the minor. Based on the case of Peters v Fleming, being a professional tennis player, it suits her status and needs to own ten diamond racquets. The third condition is that the minor must not have sufficient supply of such goods.
Based on the case of Foster v Redgrave, Sue does not have her own collection of racquets, therefore she should have ten diamond racquets. The fourth condition is that the goods must be necessary both at the time of contract and at the time of delivery. According to the case of Nash v Inman, Sue should pay for the first five racquets, which were necessary at both the time of delivery and ordering, but she does not have to pay for the last five racquets because they were no longer necessary to her at the time of delivery. The last condition is that the contract as a whole must benefit the minor.
According to the case of Fawcett v Smet hurst, the ten diamond racquets are beneficial to Sue because she can use then to play tennis. In conclusion, four out of five criteria proves that she is for breaching the contract between Hits Firm plc and herself. Therefore she is to be held liable.