Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. Any information contained in this case summary does not constitute legal advice and should be treated as educational content only.

Pinnel's Case - 1602

279 words (1 pages) Case Summary

28th Sep 2021 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Legal Case Summary

Pinnel’s Case (1602) 5 Co Rep 117

Summary: Whether part payment of a debt can be good consideration.


The defendant, Cole, owed the plaintiff, Pinnel, the sum of £8 10s. Pinnel sued Cole for recovery of the debt. Cole had, at Pinnel’s request, paid £5 2s 6d one month before the debt was due to be paid and stated that they had an agreement that this part payment would discharge the entire debt.


The defendant argued that the plaintiff had accepted partial payment of the debt as satisfaction of the whole.  However, it was a general rule that payment of a lesser sum than that which was owed in satisfaction of a debt could not discharge the obligation to repay the whole amount.


The court confirmed the general rule that part payment of a debt cannot be satisfaction for the whole. However, since the payment had been made early this was sufficient to discharge he debt. Lord Coke said (at 1117a):

‘Payment of a lesser sum on the day in satisfaction of a greater sum cannot be any satisfaction of the whole… but the gift of a horse, hawk, or robe etc. in satisfaction is good. For it shall be intended that a hawk, horse, or robe, etc. might be more beneficial to the plaintiff than the money’

Therefore, by paying some money early the defendant had provided the plaintiff with a further benefit and had not just repaid the money which he already owed. Consequently, this was good consideration, and the court found for the defendant.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

Related Articles