Watson v Priddy

CourtRoyal Court
Judge(Ereaut, Bailiff and Jurats Hamilton and Perrée):
Judgment Date15 December 1977
Date15 December 1977
(Ereaut, Bailiff and Jurats Hamilton and Perre):

Mrs.S.A. Pearmain for the plaintiff;

W.J. Bailhache for the defendant.

Family Lawchildrenillegitimate childrenpension alimentairecommon law duty on father to maintain illegitimate child but not tortious to fail to do sosince not tort personnel, prescription period not enlarged by Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Jersey) Law 1960, art. 2 and action to be brought within year and day of birth

EREAUT, BAILIFF: On 16th December, 1973, the plaintiff gave birth to a male child named Mark Allan Watson. By Order of Justice signed in May, 1976, she claims that the defendant is the father of the child and she actions him to pay maintenance to her in respect of the child until the child shall attain the age of sixteen years.

The defendant, who denies paternity, contends that the action, not having been brought within a year and a day of the birth of the child, is, in any event, prescribed.

This judgment deals only with the preliminary issue of prescription.

This action is one for "pension alimentaire" in respect of an illegitimate child, and it is agreed by the plaintiff on the clear authority of a number of cases decided by the Royal Court, that before the enactment of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Jersey) Law, 1960, (hereinafter called "the 1960 Law") such an action had to be brought within a year and a day from the date of birth. However, the plaintiff submits that the effect of that Law was to extend the time within which actions for "pension alimentaire" could be brought from a year and a day to three years. If that were so, the present action would not be prescribed.

The reason for the plaintiff's contention is this. Article 2 of the 1960 Law extends the period within which "actions founded on tort" may be brought to three years from the date on which the cause of action accrued. Article 2 defines tort as meaning "a tort personnel" or a "tort matriel". The plaintiff argues that an action for "pension alimentaire" in respect of an illegitimate child is an action founded on a "tort personnel", that the cause of such an action is deemed to accrue from the date of the birth of the child, that under the 1960 Law such an action, being founded on tort, may he brought within three years from such date, and that therefore the present action is not prescribed.

The issue before the Court is, accordingly, whether an action such as this is one founded on tort, so as to bring it within the provisions of the 1960 Law.

To understand the arguments submitted by counsel for the plaintiff, it is necessary to consider all the local cases to be found in the Table des Decisions pertaining to an action for pension alimentaire in respect of an illegitimate child. All the reported cases are prior to the 1960 Law. Most of the cases are reported under the title "Seduction", but a few are listed under "Pension Alimentaire". We attribute no significance to this.

In the first of the cases, Gordon v. Gore ((1890), 214 Ex. 95, unreported), the plaintiff, who alleged that she had been seduced by the defendant over a period of some eighteen months when employed by him as his housekeeper; and who as a result had given birth to an illegitimate child, actioned the defendant, firstly, to pay maintenance for the child from the date of birth until he attained the age of 14, and secondly, to pay her the sum of 100 "tant comme ddommagement pour le tort inflig ladite Remontrante par la conduite indigne dudit Sieur Gore que pour les frais de la prsente action". The child was born in 1883, and the action before the Royal Court was not commenced until 1890.

The defendant pleaded, inter alia:

"Or, Jersey, l'action pour sduction ou en demande de pension alimentaire d'un enfant illgitime rsultant de cette sduction doit tre intente dans l'an et jour de l'ouverture du...

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11 cases
  • Medway v Earl of Jersey
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 13 December 1993
    ...JLR 219. Tate v. Latham & Son, [1897] 1 Q.B. 502. Vacwell Co. Ltd. v. B.D.H. Chemicals Ltd., [1969] 3 All E.R. 1681. Watson v. Priddy, 1977 J.J. 145. Wilsons & Clyde Coal Co. Ltd. v. English, [1937] 3 All E.R. 628. Text cited: Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed., vol. 9, para. 351, at 224. ......
  • Arya Holdings Ltd v Minories Finance Ltd
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 10 July 1995
    ...Re, 1966 J.J. 547, considered. (7) Royco Inv. Co. Ltd., In re, Royal Ct., June 1st, 1989, unreported, considered. (8) Watson v. Priddy, 1977 J.J. 145, considered. Additional cases cited by counsel: Chapman v. Pickersgill (1762), 95 E.R. 734. Fletcher Sutcliffe Wild Ltd. v. Burch, [1982] F.S......
  • Maynard v Public Services Committee
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 17 March 1995
    ...[1964] 2 All E.R. 929. Lynn v. Bamber, [1930] 2 K.B. 72. Moore (D.W.) & Co. Ltd. v. Ferrier, [1988] 1 All E.R. 400. Watson v. Priddy, 1977 J.J. 145. Legislation construed: Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Jersey) Law 1960, art. 2: The relevant terms of this article are set out at page......
  • Charles Church (Spitfires) Ltd and Charles Church (Displays) Ltd v Aviation Jersey Ltd and Griffiths
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 16 June 1993
    ...Devs. (Essex) Ltd., [1976] Q.B. 858; [1976] 2 All E.R. 65; (1976), 74 L.G.R. 355; 120 Sol. Jo. 216, considered. (8) Watson v. Priddy, 1977 J.J. 145, considered. Additional cases cited by counsel: Archer v. Catton & Co. Ltd., [1954] 1 All E.R. 896. Mathew v. Maughold Life Assur. Co. Ltd., Th......
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