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Equity steps in to provide a remedy for persons who have entered into an oral
agreement for a transfer of interest in land and had relied on that formal interest to
his detriment. It prevents a defendant from fraudulently relying on the fact that
there was no written agreement to attest to the fact that a contract did not exists and
thus the claimant cannot bring an action that the defendant had not performed his
side of the agreement after he, the claimant had performed his.

This case established:
1. That acts of part performance must only be referable to the contract alleged
and no other title. Maddison v Alderson (1883) is where an appellant
brought an action for arrears owed to her after she had agreed to work as a
housekeeper for the deceased without wages and to give up all prospects of
marriage. The appellants service was not unequivocal and not referable to
the kind alleged. It must be shown that the acts of the person seeking to
enforce the alleged oral agreement were, in the words of Lord Selbourne
L.C., "unequivocally, and in their own nature referable to some such
agreement as that alleged." This is a very tough test to meet.

Evidence must be provided by the plaintiff of part performance which would
further indicate that the parties had entered into contractual relations which
is certain and definite in its terms. The doctrine of part performance would
not be invoked if there is a failure to provide such evidence: Price v
Salisbury (1863). The burden of proof is on the claimant who is trying to
raise the equitable remedy of part performance.

3. The contract must be capable of being enforced by the courts. In Wakeman
v Mackenzie (1968) a woman agreed to give up her rent-restricted flat and
keep house for an elderly widower in consideration of his oral promise to
will his house to her. The court considered her action to be sufficient part

4. It would be rendered a fraud if the defendant takes advantage of the contract
not being in writing


Rawlinson v Ames (1925): alterations were made to a flat at the expense of
the plaintiff at the request of the defendant who reneged on the oral contract
to occupy the flats after the completion of the alterations. The acts of the
plaintiff were part performance and she was entitled to obtain specific
performance to enforce the claim.

Steadman v Steadman (1975): established that payment of money alone
cannot constitute a sufficient act of performance. Where payment of money
is rendered unequivocal by other acts or circumstances then there will be
sufficient acts of part performance. E.g.
(a) the mere payment of rent/ MONEY will not constitute as sufficient
acts of part performance.