Proceedings for breach of promise may be instituted although the defendant is unmarried. If an attempt is made without satisfactory cause to break off an engagement, or no attempt is made to keep the promise of marriage in spite of repeated reminders, proceedings may be instituted, but the testimony of the plaintiff must be corroborated by some material evidence in support of the alleged promise of marriage. A verbal engagement will sustain an action, unless solemnization of the marriage is limited to take place upwards of a year from the date of the contract, when it must be in writing. A reasonable length of time must elapse, between the alleged breach and the institution of the action. A promise of marriage is not binding if there has been any coercion in the obtaining of it, or if there has been fraud or misrepresentation as to the circumstances, parentage or previous mode of life of the plaintiff, or if the defendant is found to be suffering from insanity or incurable disease.
If the defendant was already married, unknown to the plaintiff, at the time of making the alleged promise of marriage, the plaintiff has an exceedingly good case.
The action for Breach of Promise of Marriage is a civil one, for damages, and a solicitor or counsel must be engaged, who will institute the proceedings and undertake the management of the whole case.
It is usual to give the defendant an opportunity of fulfilling the engagement, by having a letter indicted by a third party—a parent, brother or solicitor, retaining a copy thereof. If the letter is delivered, or the request made at an interview, a careful note must be made of all conversation, and the interview should, if possible, take place in the presence of witnesses.