Woman sues ex-boyfriend after he did not take her to airport in New Zealand

A woman in New Zealand has sued her ex-boyfriend after he failed to take her to the airport.

The woman, known as CL in a tribunal document, said she and her then partner - HG - had entered into a verbal contract in which he agreed to drop her off at the unnamed airport, then stay in her home while she was away and look after her two dogs.

CL, who had planned to attend a concert with friends during her time away, messaged the man the day before her flight with instructions to pick her up between 10am and 10.15am, according to the legal papers.

But he did not arrive, causing her to miss her flight.

She told the New Zealand Disputes Tribunal, which deals with small claims, that she was seeking compensation from him for the cost of taking an alternative flight the next day, getting a shuttle service to the airport and putting her dogs in a kennel.

CL said HG "enjoyed staying at her house" and had looked after her dogs in the past, according to the claim.

The couple, who were in a relationship for six and a half years until the dispute arose, had previously lived together but were now in different homes since the man's son had come back to live with him.

CL also sought reimbursement for the cost of a ferry ticket she had bought for the man as part of a holiday planned for December 2023 to visit her sons.

What was the tribunal's decision?

The tribunal looked at whether the man had entered into a contract to take her to the airport and look after her dogs.

It also looked into whether the pair had entered into a contract in which the ex-boyfriend had said he would incur the cost of the ferry trip.

In the end, the tribunal dismissed the woman's claim, saying the man's promise fell short of being a contract.

Tribunal referee Krysia Cowie said that for an agreement to be enforceable, there needs to be an intention "to create a legally binding relationship".

"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," she added.

"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."

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The referee found "the nature of the promises were exchanged as a normal give and take in an intimate relationship".

There was no indication of any intention between the parties that HG would be bound by the promises he made, she added.

The man said in an email he would not attend the hearing and did not answer a follow-up phone call from Ms Cowie.