This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
There are, however, certain exceptions to the general rule that in order to have specific performance in equity the contract to be enforced must be enforceable at law. The rule that certain kinds of part performance may make an oral contract enforceable, though of a class which by the terms of the statute of frauds must be proved by written evidence has already been discussed.1 Part performance is in most jurisdictions exclusively a doctrine of equity, without any effect at law. In such jurisdictions technical part performance of an oral contract which is included in the terms of the statute of frauds makes such contract enforceable in equity but not at law. In other cases the very fact that makes the contract unenforceable at law gives equity jurisdiction to enforce the contract specific. Thus at Common Law intermarriage of the parties to a contract operated as a discharge.2 Accordingly, executory ante-nuptial contracts were discharged by the marriage of the parties. In such cases equity would grant specific performance.3