Brief of Cowern v Nield

Brief of Cowern v Nield by Legum

Cowern v Nield: KBD 14 May 1912

The minor defendant, Nield, was a trader who sold goods to the plaintiff Cowern. The minor defendant failed to deliver the goods to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff sought to recover the money paid to the minor for the delivery


1. Whether or not Nield’s promise to deliver the purchased goods to Cowern was enforceable against Nield, the minor.


1. Nield’s promise to deliver goods to Cowern was not enforceable.

Ratio Decidendi:

In the words of Phillimore J, ‘An infant is not necessarily liable on a contract merely because it is for his benefit. I am satisfied. That the only contracts which, if for the infant’s benefit, are enforceable against him, are contracts relating to the infant’s person, such as contracts for necessaries, food, clothing and lodging, contracts of marriage, and contracts of apprenticeship and service. In my opinion, a trading contract does not come within that category.’