Preceding the marriage, the parties enter into an agreement that they will marry each other at some time in the future. There are no formalities attached to the engagement but the underlying requirements for a binding agreement must be fulfilled.
There must be a proper agreement; both parties must have the capacity to enter into the agreement, or have the necessary consent where assistance is required; and both parties must be competent to marry each other. The engagement is a specific type of contract as the law will not enforce specific performance of an engagement contract.
The engagement is best classified as an agreement sui generis.' It is a binding agreement that can easily be terminated for any reason. The law does, however, make provision for contractual claims for patrimonial loss and delictual damage for satisfaction of injured feelings as a result of the breach of promise, id esl where the termination was without just cause.2 The innocent party may also have a claim for the return of engagement gifts given and retention of engagement gifts received.1
There may also be a claim for damages arising from seduction.