Woman sues her boyfriend after he decides not to take her to the airport

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Jun 26, 2024 at 12:26 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

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After her boyfriend of six and a half years bailed on taking her to the airport for a flight she ended up missing, a young woman decided to take the man to court in an attempt to get back some of the money for the journey.

The unnamed woman from New Zealand testified in front of the Disputes Tribunal that she had entered into a “verbal contract” with her partner that he would take her to the airport and look after her dogs. She was on her way to the airport to catch a flight and watch a concert overseas when she realised that her beau was not going to be completing his end of the ill-fated bargain.

The woman complained to the tribunal that she incurred considerable costs from having to add another day to travel, organising a shuttle to the airport and putting her dogs in a kennel. She also paid for ferry tickets for her and her boyfriend to go on a holiday at a separate time to visit her sons, and argued she should be reimbursed for the cost of his ticket.

Nevertheless, the claim was dismissed with the tribunal referee, Krysia Cowie, stating that for an agreement to be enforceable, there needed to be an intention to create a “legally binding relationship.”

Indeed, Cowie decided against the scorned girlfriend and argued that these promises were “exchanged as a normal give and take in an intimate relationship.” There was “nothing that indicated an intention between the parties” for the woman’s boyfriend to be bound by his promises.

“Partners, friends and colleagues make social arrangements, but it is unlikely they can be legally enforced unless the parties perform some act that demonstrates an intention that they will be bound by their promises,” the referee wrote. “When friends fail to keep their promises, the other person may suffer a financial consequence but it may be that they cannot be compensated for that loss.

Cowie continued: “There are many examples of friends who have let their friend down, however, the courts have maintained that it is a non-recoverable loss unless the promise went beyond being a favour between friends and become a promise that they intend to be bound by. (…) Although a promise was made, it falls short of being a contract. It forms part of the everyday family and domestic relationship agreements that are not enforceable in the disputes tribunal.”

It should probably go without saying that the couple has parted ways since the incident and subsequent legal dispute.

According to The Guardian, the former boyfriend sent an email saying he would not attend the tribunal hearing and did not answer a follow-up call from the tribunal referee.

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