Brief of Stilk v Myrick

Brief of Stilk v Myrick by Legum

Stilk v Myrick (1809) 170 ER 1168

Material Facts:

Stilk entered into a contract with Myrick to work on a ship owned by Myrick. As part of the agreement, Stilk promised to undertake any tasks needed on the ship irrespective of any contingencies. When two crew members deserted the ship, the captain promised to pay Stilk and other members extra if they took on the extra responsibility. The captain later refused to pay.


Whether Stilk had provided consideration for the promise of extra income.

Arguments of the defendants:

Relying on the case of Harris v Watson, counsel for the defendant argued that if the agreement between Stilk and Myrick would create incentive for sailors to hold captains to ransom and demand higher wages.


That there was no consideration.

Ratio Decidendi:

That the members of the crew, including Stilk, undertook to “do all that they could under all the emergencies of the voyage. They had sold all their services till the voyage should be completed.” Doing exactly as they promised was not deemed sufficient consideration.