Parents, children and property in late 18th-century chancery

Adam Hofri-Winogradow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The late 18th-century court of Chancery established a balance between the respective interests of parents and their children in the family's property. The court required parents, especially fathers, to provide for the maintenance and education of their minor children themselves, even where money was made available for these purposes from a non-parental source. It prevented parents from intercepting gifts given to their children by third parties. It permitted parents, however, to make their children's entitlements to marriage portions conditional, for children marrying before majority, on the children's choice of spouse being consented to by a parent or parental surrogate. Chancery's overall intergenerational policy was notably anti-dynastic: it made sure that younger generations, specifically those just reaching adulthood, marriage and parenthood, were endowed with sufficient property to give them at least a measure of independence from their elders, and some power over their own children.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)741-769
Number of pages29
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Equity
  • Legal history
  • Marriage
  • Parental responsibility
  • Trusts


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