Of course no one is interested in the reactions of the two women involved, except for the effect it might have on any divorce or maintenance settlements for which the two men may be liable. I should rather like to know what would be the reaction to an attempt by one of women to take legal action against the other, for either alienation of affection or criminal conversation. The law must surely have changed since 1920, when Justice McCardie had to rule on damages in six cases which came before him?
The Times reported his findings under the headline The Value Of A Wife [The Times, Wednesday, Feb 11, 1920; pg. 5; Issue 42331*; col B]
McCardie found that in English law a husband had a right to control his wife & to benefit from her services; if his wife was persuaded by another man to leave her husband's home, the husband could sue that man for damages. A woman had no such rights over her husband's services & therefore it was doubtful whether she could sue a woman who enticed away her husband. (See Clerk & Lindsell on Torts, 6th edn, p246).
The Americans were more enlightened - a different view prevailed in many of the States, where The Other Woman might be found liable to pay damages to the Woman Scorned.
In 1920s England a wronged husband could also sue another man for ‘criminal conversation’, based solely on the act of adultery; his wife did not actually have to leave home. The law assumed that the wife had no power to consent to any such relationship outside marriage & therefore that the act was done against her by force. Of course, by the mere fact of marrying, she was at that time deemed to have given her consent to any & all such acts done against her by her husband.
McCardie said that the idea behind this application of English law was trespass - by the Other Man on the husband's private property.
If the claim be one for strict trespass then nominal damages at least should be technically awarded to the husband. But if the claim be merely ‘in case’ the court was not bound to award any damages at all unless the actual damage be proved.
The (almost overwhelmingly male) commentators who have been filling the airwaves on this topic are in absolutely no doubt that trespass has indeed occurred, a footballer has suffered damage of an emotional kind, that we all may suffer if Our Side's chance of winning the World Cup disappears ...
The women involved still have no power to consent to these interfences with mens rights.