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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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I have made a claim for the return of an engagement ring

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I have made a claim for the return of an engagement ring that has been defended and would like some advice about next steps and my chances for success in the small claims court

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

What is the basis of the defence please?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
This is my claim - that it was conditional on marriage
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Her defence is that it was a gift
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
My evidence to substantiate my claim that it was conditional:1) when she told me it's over she immediately took it off and handed to me - shows she understood it to be conditional. Sadly was too awkward in public place so i said give it to me at the weekend2) In the days and weeks that followed break up I asked her back for it repeatedly which shows I Understood it to be conditional3) her responses were always that she would give it back but always different reason ie not "it was a gift"4) first time she said she wouldn't give it back is when I mentioned going through solicitor
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
This is her defence

If you expressed the ring was given only on marriage and it would be returned, then you will be entitled to have it back, or the value.

But you need to show:

1) It cost £5000

2) That it was conditional upon marriage

3) That it would be returned if you broke up

4) These terms were agreed BEFORE you gave the ring, not after

You will need to show that the above happened. Its your claim, you have to prove it on balance.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
We made no agreement beforehand - my argument is that it was implied as it says in the law

Sadly UNLESS this was agreed beforehand, I think you may have difficulty.

Marriage is a contract - but the ring symbolises this. Unless you discussed it beforehand it was conditional you may face a problem.

Does that clarify

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970 states:

“The gift of an engagement ring shall be presumed to be an absolute gift; this presumption may be rebutted by proving that the ring was given on the condition, express or implied, that it should be returned if the marriage did not take place for any reason.”

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Exactly - my case rests on the "implied condition"

If you have evidence that it was implied BEFOREHAND then you are ok.

If it was AFTER the agreement, then your claim will fail.

You must show to rebut the presumption. The Defendant does not have to rebut it.

Does that clarify?

Jamie-Law and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Can actions after not show what the understanding was before? As in the arguments I laid out. Why would she hand it over afterwards if she understood it not to be conditional?

No.

It has to be agreed BEFORE the contract to marry was formed.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
I understand. But we are talking about an implied agreement. A person's actions at a later point in time can show that they understood an implied agreement to have been in place before the event - would you agree?

Its not implied. It has to be express beforehand. Its only implied if its by law.

You can not change terms of an agreement after unless both parties agree

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
It's only implied if it's by law - I interpret that to mean only if another law makes it obviousBut how can you say that's what it means? I ask because no other solicitor I've spoken to has understood it that way. (you may well be correct)

Terms are implied by law or conduct - express terms are spoken.
That is the essence of a contract.

That is how the law works.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
I'm saying her conduct shows we had an implied agreement that it was conditional on marriage
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
You seem to be suggesting the only way I could win is by showing there was an explicit agreement (verbal/written). So why would the law allow for implied agreements?
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
By the way I'm happy to pay for this - I understand you've probably gone beyond what is required

But it seems to show conduct AFTER not before the contract was entered into.
That is why I think you may have an issue.

But of course lawyers disagree - and that is why we end up going to Court!