Brief of De Francesco v Barnum

Brief of De Francesco v Barnum by Legum

De Francesco v Barnum (1890) 45 ChD 430.

Material Facts:

A minor entered into a contract with the plaintiff to learn stage dancing. The minor was to serve the plaintiff for 7 years, and will only be paid if employed by the plaintiff, but the plaintiff had no obligation to employ her. The plaintiff could also terminate the contract unilaterally but the minor could not. The minor left the plaintiff and went to the defendant. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant induced the minor to breach his contract.


1. Whether or not the defendant induced the minor to breach her contract with the plaintiff.


1. That the contract between the minor and the plaintiff was not a valid contract.

Ratio Decidendi:

The court ruled that the contract between the plaintiff and the minor was largely to the benefit of the plaintiff and not the minor, and that the contract was one-sided and unreasonable and could not thus be considered a valid contract. Since the contract was considered void, the plaintiff could thus not sue the defendant for breaching a non-existent contract.