• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A contract is formed between two or more parties.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

A contract is formed between two or more parties. In order for a contract to be legally binding there must be offer and acceptance. This simple basis for a contract is not as clear cut as it first appears. In certain circumstances it is often necessary for the two parties to the contract to communicate via post or by other indirect means. This practise gives rise to the problem of whether an acceptance is given when it is posted or when it is received. There is also the issue of whether or not the person posting the acceptance wilfully intended there to be a delay in delivery. The use of electronic mail further ads to the complication as the courts must decide whether or not electronic mail can be classified as instantaneous communication. Firstly, let us examine the postal rule in order to analyse its possible applications to communication by electronic means. As already stated, the two elements of a simple contract are the offer and the acceptance. The acceptance will only have effect when it is given to the offeror in response to his offer. Lord Herschell defines the postal rule as: "Where the circumstances are such that it must have been within the contemplation of the parties that ... the post might be used as a means of communicating the acceptance of an offer, the acceptance is complete as soon as it is posted."1 The ...read more.

Middle

argues an interesting point when he says "Despite operating instantaneously, it does not go directly to its destination. This is unlike other instantaneous forms of communication such as fax or telex."6 This is an important distinction and one which must be taken into account. Unlike telex, emails do sometimes have a delay and there is some risk that the email might not arrive. These attributes make email more like standard post only with a shorter delay. If this is the case then the postal rule should apply to electronic mail. The cases that are given as evidence that the postal rule does not apply to email rely upon the definition of email being 'virtually instantaneous communication' when in fact it can be argued that it is not. There are occasions when the server may not deliver the email for up to 24 hours after its being sent. However, the point is also made that in many ways email is a completely different method of communication from mail and it cannot be said that there is always a consistent delay that would cause either the offeror or offeree to bear a risk during the transit time of the acceptance. D. Capp makes an interesting point in his article entitled "You've got mail!" His conclusion is that "given the advances in communications systems since the postal rule was created, concluding that the postal rule does not apply would seem sensible."7 ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that the question marks over email and its effect on the formation of contracts has been raised alone is evidence that it has made ascertaining the point of a contracts commencement more difficult to identify. Bibliograpy Books J.C. Smith - "The law of Contact" 4th Edition Koffman & Macdonald J.C Smith, "Smith & Thomas: A casebook on Contract" 11th Edition G.H Trietel - "The Law of Contract" 11th Edition Journals D. Capps - "You've got mail" (On LexisNexis) NLJ 153.7084(906) D. Stott - "Should the postal rule be applied to email?" (http://www.alsa.asn.au/docs/acj/1996/stott.html) Online Sources LexisNexis Used for searching for journals. Westlaw Used for cases and statute. Athens Used for accessing online sources of information. Google.co.uk Used for locating related articles and information. 1 Lord Herschell 2 Court of Appeal [1955] 2 Q.B. 327 3 Smith & Thomas , A Case Book on Contract 11th Edition 4 House of Lords [1983] 2 A.C 34 5 Ibid footnote 1 6 D. Stott "Should the Postal Acceptance Rule be applied to email?" 7 D. Capp "You've got mail" NLJ 153.7084(906) 8 (SI 2002/2013) 9 Specifically the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act 2000 10 Court of Appeal (1879) 4 Ex. D 216 11 (1818) 1 B. & A, 681 12 1 H.L.C 381 13 Bramwell L.J in Household Fire Insurance Co. v Grant 1 H.L.C 381 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Law of Contract section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Law of Contract essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "The requirement of consideration is an unnecessary complication in the formation of contracts."

    4 star(s)

    However, the promisee himself must provide the consideration either by incurring some detriment or by conferring a practical benefit on the promisor or a third party at the promisor's request as in the case of Williams v Roffrey Bros. But, as a result of the enactment of the Contracts(Rights of Third Parties)

  2. Marked by a teacher

    A contract by definition is an agreement between two parties by which both parties ...

    3 star(s)

    established, we also need to know whether there was an intention to be legally bound. Knowing the general shopping principles which states that, the display or advertisement in a small section of a newspaper, internet E.T.C is an invitation to treat and that customer offers to buy the goods at

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Contract Law - Offer And Acceptance

    3 star(s)

    terminated * As a binding contract is formed, so the offer ends. B. Rejection/ Counter-offer * Once the party said 'no', the offer is terminated and no contract is made * The terms of the offer must be accepted fully, even if he attempts to accept an offer on new

  2. Four ways in which a contract may be discharged.

    "A party shall not be liable in the event of non-fulfilment of any obligations arising under this contract by reason of Act of God, disease, strikes, lock-outs, fire and any accident or incident of any nature beyond the control of the relevant party."

  1. Write a critical evaluation of the elements of any two property offences

    Section 6 has said to be needless as a part of theft by its sternest critics. It makes it harder for the defendant to be liable as intention is needed to 'permanently deprive'.

  2. Entores ltd V. Miles Far East Corperation [1955] 2 QB 327(CA)

    not hear B's reply because of any reason then at that stage there is no contract. But if B wishes to make a contract he must shout back his acceptance so that A can hear what he says not until A has B's answer that A is bound.

  1. Legal Studies Assess Two

    What did the verdict mean??? This was definitely a just outcome for society, as justice was served. It was only fair that Milat be punished for murdering seven people. Had he not been imprisoned for the rest of his life, there is the possibility that he could have killed again.

  2. Evaluate the law of formation of contract in the context of modern methods of ...

    This will be so even if the letter accompanying the unsolicited goods states that the receiver will be liable to pay for the goods unless they are returned within a certain period. It should be noted that the need to communicate an acceptance may be waived as shown in the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work