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Contract Law [I] Formative Essay

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Introduction

Contract Law [I] Formative Essay Adam Sinfield Group B2 In order to advise Brian, Charles and Diana the main issues that arise in this problem need to be identified. In order for a contract to exist there must be some form of offer and acceptance, in that order. Firstly, Alan claims that an offer was never really made, and if so it was revoked before acceptance, so did an offer exist? Alan also claims that no one accepted the offer, but Brian, Charles and Diana refuse this, so did acceptance occur? If the answer to both these questions is no, then no contract existed and nothing can be done, however if the answer is yes, then an enforceable contract is in place. If yes, then further problems arise. Who is entitled to the reward? As each walker took different actions and had different motives. An offer is often defined as "An expression of willingness to contract on certain terms made with the intention that a binding contract will exist once the offer is accepted"1 however adverts are usually classified as invitations to treat, rather than as an offer which are not legally binding (see Partridge v Crittenden2), however a problem occurs when an offer is unilateral, that is an offer made from the offeror to anyone, for example that of a reward for a missing pet. The offeror is obliged to pay the reward, but anyone who sees the advert is not obliged to go and look. ...read more.

Middle

This was used in the Carlhill case and it was decided that the advert covered the first point, and the usage of the smokeballs in the directed way covered point two. In the facts of this problem, the advert again covers the first point, as it states that a T-Shirt with the company's logo on must be worn, and the second point is covered by the fact that all three walkers collected a T-Shirt, and started the walk to London from Cardiff, as directed by the advert. It may also be relevant to note that the reason for accepting the offer is not relevant (see Williams v Cowardine5) so the fact that Diana didn't know about the reward until half way through the walk, and was only on the walk because she couldn't afford the train fair has no relevance. Another defence that would be used by Alan is the fact that the offer was revoked, so how relevant is this? As mentioned previously, an offer can be revoked at anytime prior to any acceptance, but again with this being unilateral, problems arise. The answer to whether the acceptance still stands can be found in Errington v Errington & Woods6. In this case, it was decided that acting on a promise is significant to acceptance and that the case is based on the point of view that once an offeree has started to perform, then revocation is not possible. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, part completion of this contract is not enforceable as he did not complete the conditions set out in the advert. Similar to Brian, in ordinary circumstances he might be able to negotiate a sum from Lucofizz for part completion, but with the financial troubles he is unlikely to receive anything, so I would recommend no further action. If he completed the walk in the allotted time, instead of pulling out, then he would be entitled to the reward, but by pulling out he forfeited the contract, leaving him with nothing. As to Diana, she fulfilled her obligations to the contract by wearing the T-Shirt and walking to London in seven days. Even though she didn't know about the offer from the start and despite having ulterior motives I would recommend that she pursues her claim by taking further actions. If Diana had not been told about the offer by Charles after the revocation and had completed the task anyway, she would have no claim and would not be entitled to the reward. I would recommend to Diana to pursue her claim as she is likely to receive an out of court settlement as Lucofizz would be keen to avoid any expensive litigation. 1 Richards P., Law of Contract (5th ed 2002, Longman) 2 [1968] 2 ALL ER 421 3 [1893] 1 QB 256 4 Treitel G.H., The Law of Contract (1st ed 1999, Sweet and Maxwell) 5 [1833] 5 Car & P 566 6 [1952] 1 KB 290 (CA) ...read more.

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