X promises not to file a suit against Y if Y pays him $100 by a fixed date. The forbearance of X
is the consideration for Y's Payment.
A promise given in a contract is only binding on the promisor if
(i) it is supported by consideration; or
(ii) the promise is in the form of a deed.
Currie v Misa: consideration is either an advantage to the promisor or a detriment incurred by the
A better definition adopted by the House of Lords in Dunlop v Selfridge is an act or forbearance
of one party, or the promise thereof, is the price for which the promise of the other is bought, and
the promise thus given for value is enforceable.
Types of Consideration
1. Present consideration:
•Consideration which moves simultaneously with the promise is called Present Consideration or
2. Future consideration:
•When the consideration is to move at a future date, it is called Future Consideration or
3. Past consideration:
When the consideration of one party was given before the date of the promise, it is said to be
In three cases past consideration for a promise does suffice to make the promise binding.
(a) Bill of exchange
(b) Recovery of a debt
(c)Service made on request
Rules of Consideration:
As well as determining whether consideration is valid on the grounds of being executed or
executory, the court will also seek to ensure that:
1. desire (or request) of the promisor is essential : The act done or loss suffered by the
promisee must have been done or suffered at the desire of the promisor. Ex: P sees Q's house
on fire and helps in extinguishing it. Q did not ask for his help. P cannot demand payment for
2. The consideration must be real :
The consideration must have some value in the eye of taw.
The impossible' acts and illusory or non-existing goods cannot support a contract.
Ex: X promises to supply Y one tola of gold brought from the sun. The consideration
is sham and illusory and there is no contract.
A contribution to charity is without consideration. It is not real consideration.
3. public duty :
Where the promise is already under an existing public duty, an express promise to perform, or
performance of that duty will not amount to consideration. Ex: A contract to pay money to a
witness who has received a subpoena to appear at a trial.