(d) See, as to those words including the stock in trade and capital necessary for the making of those wages and earnings, Ashworth v. Outram, 5 Ch. Div. 923; 46 L. J. (Ch.) 687.
(e) As to what amounts to carrying on a trade separately from the husband, see Lovell v. Newton, 4 C. P. D. 7.
*Under this Act then, all married women whether married before or after the date of its coining into operation are enabled to enter into such contracts as are mentioned in the above sections, during the marriage, and thus the law stands as to the contracts of married women up to the end of the year 1882.
On the 1st of January, 1883, the "Married Women's Property Act, 1882" (45 & 46 Vict., c. 75), came into force, and now by sect. 1, sub-sect. 2, of that Act, "a married woman shall be capable of entering into and rendering herself liable in respect of and to the extent of her separate property on any contract, and of suing and being sued, either in contract or in tort, or otherwise, in all respects as if she were a feme sole, and her husband need not be joined with her as plaintiff or defendant, or be made a party to any action or other legal proceeding brought by or taken against her; and any damages or costs recovered by her in any such action or proceeding shall be her separate property; and any damages or costs recovered against her in any such action or proceeding shall be payable out of her separate property, and not otherwise." *This last Act seems to remove all disabilities as to the power of contracting which affected 'married women before it came into operation.
(f) It has been held that a married woman might under this section maintain an action in her own name to recover damages against her bankers for dishonouring cheques drawn by her in the course of a trade which she carried on separately from her husband, or for not duly presenting or not giving due notice of dishonour of a bill of exchange acquired by her in such trade, and intrusted to them by her for presentment,-it being a remedy for the protection and security of her separate property within that section. Summers v. City Bank, L. R. 9 C P. 530; 43 L. J. (C. P.) 261.
There are then three periods within which the contracts of married women made during their marriage may fall, as to each of which the law applicable varies :1. What we may call the Common Law period, which terminated on the 8th of August, 1870:
2. The period of partial disability, commencing with the 9th of August, 1870, and expiring with the year 1882:
3. The period of general emancipation from disability, commencing with the 1st of January, 1883.
But suppose a married women has entered into a contract and breaks it, what is the remedy?
The answer depends on whether the contract was made before or after the "Married Women's Property Act, 1882."
If the contract was made before that Act came into force, then the remedy is not an action against her personally (g), but is an action against the separate estate, if any, which the woman had at the time of the contract. At Common Law, as I have already said (h), the person who contracted with a married woman, so far as any right against *her personally was concerned, relied upon her bare word. But she could, according to the rules of Equity, bind by her contracts her separate estate, if she had any. She could not indeed so bind any property which she might subsequently acquire; but so much of the separate property, which she had at the time the contract was made, as remained at the date of the judgment against her estate was made liable (i). But in such an action it has been held that the husband must be joined with her as a defendant. Thus in the recent case of Hancocks v. Lablache (k), the plaintiffs were jewellers, and the defendant, a married woman, was an actress and public singer, and as such engaged in an employment from which she derived wages and earnings separately from her husband, and thereby had acquired separate property within the meaning of sect. 1 of the Married Women's Property Act, 1870. The plaintiffs had sold jewellery to her, for part only of which she had paid, and, in order to *recover the balance, sued her alone, not claiming relief against her personally, but seeking to charge her separate estate. While the Court held that the right relief was sought, it held also that the husband must be joined as a defendant, although the wife was living apart from him, the last mentioned Act not having altered the law as to the proper mode of suing a married woman in respect of that property which by that Act was made her separate estate.
(g) Attwood v. Chichester, 3 Q. B. D. 722; 47 L. J. (Q. B., etc.) 300; Durrant v. Ricketts, 8 Q. B. D. 177; 51 L. J. (Q. B.) 425.
(h) Ante, p. *340.
(i) Pike v. Fitzgibbon, 17 Ch. Div. (C. A.) 454; 50 L. J. (Ch.) 394; overruling S. C. 14 Ch. Div. 837; 49 L. J. (Ch.) 493; King v. Lucas, 23 Ch. Div. 712; 53 L. J. (Ch.) 64. See also Chapman v. Biggs, 11 Q. B. D. 27.
(k) 3 C. P. D. 197; 47 L. J. (Q. B., etc.) 514. In the recent case, however, of Williams v. Mercier, 9 Q. B. D. 337 (already cited), ante, p. *332, which was an action against a married woman sued alone for debts contracted by her before marriage it was held by the Court of Appeal, on the construction of sect. 12 of the M. W. P. Act, 1870, that it was not necessary to join the husband in an action for such debts.
Such, then, is the extent of the liability of married women in respect of contracts made before the Act of 1882 came into force; and it would seem, from the saving clause in sect. 22 of the last mentioned Act, already cited (/), that in actions on such contracts, it would be still right to join the husband, but for the New Rules of 1883, of which Order XVI., rule 16, provides that married women may be sued as provided by the Married Women's Property Act, 1882; and as this Act enables them to be sued alone, it would seem that in any such action now brought in the High Court it is unnecessary to join the husband, whether the contract was made before or after the last mentioned Act came into force.