28th April 2021

Contract Law – Will Prince Harry be forced to marry a lawyer from India?

Contract Law – Will Prince Harry be forced to marry a lawyer from India?

Last week, the press was full of news on Prince Harry. One of the more unusual stories included a court case in India. On 8th April 2021, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, issued a decision in the case of Palwinder Kaur v Prince Harry Middleton and others CRWP-3347-2021.

In this case, Ms Kaur, a lawyer in India, raised an action against Prince Harry to enforce an agreement of marriage and for an international arrest warrant to allow the marriage to progress without delay. Ms Kaur claims that she had been messaging Prince Harry through social media. During the online chats, in which she believed she and ‘Prince Harry’ had formed a relationship, the individual purporting to be Prince Harry advised that he wanted to marry Ms Kaur. Ms Kaur accepted this proposal and was of the view that a contract had been created by offer and acceptance. When arrangements for the marriage did not proceed, Ms Kaur wrote to Prince Harry’s father and following no response raised the Court action.

Dismissing the action, the Court held that the action was “a day-dreamer’s fantasy” and that authenticity of online conversations cannot be relied upon in Court. Accepting that it was highly unlikely to be the Prince Harry and more likely a catfish, the Court held that Prince Harry would not be arrested and would be able to remain married to Meghan Markle!

What would happen if such a court action was raised in Scotland?
In Scotland, contracts can be formed verbally or in writing, for example through an email chain. In order for a contract to be binding, there must be an agreement on essential terms, an intention to create legal relations and certainty of the terms.

The essential terms to the contract can vary depending on the nature, but in short, the usual terms are parties, price and subject matter. Without an agreement being made on each these terms, there is unlikely to be a binding contract.

And what if Ms Kaur agreed to marry someone she thought was Prince Harry but turned out he was someone else? Would she be bound by this?
If Ms Kaur entered a contract to marry thinking she was marrying Prince Harry, and it turned out to be another individual, it is likely that implementation of the contract could be avoided on the basis of misrepresentation. Misrepresentation is where one party enters into a contract where the other party has misrepresented a fact which was material for the parties entering into the contract. Misrepresentation can be innocent, negligent or fraudulent. A statement honestly made, but wrong, could be negligent or innocent misrepresentation. In order for a claim of fraudulent misrepresentation to be successful, the Pursuer must show that the statement was both false and fraudulent.

In the case of Ms Kaur, the misrepresentation suffered is of a fraudulent nature. The simplest form of fraud is a straight lie, and in this situation, the individual purporting to be Prince Harry made a false statement about their identity in order to mislead Ms Kaur. Ms Kaur, if successful in any misrepresentation claim against the individual falsifying his identity, could be entitled to reduction of the contract and/or a payment for any losses incurred, which may include an element of personal suffering.

For information and help on any contractual issues please speak to a member of the Blackadders Dispute Resolution Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, and across Scotland.

Susan Currie at Blackadders LLP
Susan Currie, Senior Solicitor
Dispute Resolution
Blackadders LLP
@DisputeLawSusan

www.blackadders.co.uk

 

 

The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.

Copyright

Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.

Privacy Statement

Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.

© Blackadders LLP 2021

Members of the Law Society of Scotland.

Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.

Back to News & Legal Updates