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What makes an offer binding?

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MARINI & FISCHER LTD. SOLICITORS Date: 24 May 2002 Our Reference : 'Ambassador Desks' 123456/B Your Reference : Westway Office/ Legal, May 02 Subject : Legal rules which involves the sell of Ambassador Desks Westway Office Equipment 29 Church Road Hove BN3 2JH Dear Sir or Madam, In response to your letter for legal advice involving the sale of one particular type of desks the 'Ambassador'. This case has been analysed into a number of points involving the Law of Contract. In order for a contract to be enforceable under English Law by an action in the civil courts, there must be a valid offer and acceptance. An offer may be made to a particular person or, in some cases, to the world at large. A valid offer is a clear statement of the terms on which party (the offeror) is prepared to do business with another party (the offeree), provided to be capable of acceptance, the offer must not be too vague and must be unconditionally accepted by the other party. Very briefly, I would also like to give the definition of contract for your reference: "A contract is an agreement between two or more persons which is intended by them to be legally binding". However, areas of law concerned in your case with legal issues explained below together with examples of court cases from the past as appendices. ...read more.


Statements made in negation are irrelevant to mention in your case where protracted negotiations made. Acceptance of Offer An acceptance to be legally binding must be 'mirror image' of the offer, must be unconditional and must be communicated to the offeror. Your acceptance of the offer to Evans furniture Ltd. was the 'mirror image' of the offer. However, it did not fulfil communication for acceptance. Acceptance must be communicated The communication of an offer can be written or spoken, but it may be by conduct. However, it must be received by the offeror that is it must be communicated. Silence cannot be imposed as a means of acceptance. In Felthouse & Bindley (1862) 3 it was held that " Although the nephew intended to sell the horse to his uncle, he had not communicated that intention. There was, therefore, no contract between parties" (Keenan, 1997 pp.15). On The 4th February, you posted a letter to Evans Furniture Ltd. to communicate your acceptance of the offer. However, there was no communication of acceptance because you did not speak to them directly and Evans Furniture cannot say to you "I shall assume you have accepted my offer unless I hear to the contrary". An acceptance, to be binding, must also be communicated. ...read more.


The local retail shop's offer was a counter-offer, which was terminated the first one. Hyde and Wrench (1840)6 provides a useful illustration of the operation of the rules of revocation and counter-offer. Your letter arrived to Evans Furniture Ltd. on the 8th February, after the contract had been made with the local retail shop and the desks had already been sold. Evans Ltd. also posted a revocation letter to you before they received the letter. It was held in the case of Byrne and Tienhoven (1880)7, postal revocation is effective only when the offeree receives it and the mere posting of the letter is not communication to the person to whom it is sent. Your legal position The facts of your case and reference to relevant case law indicate that your acceptance did not raise any contractual relationship. Evans Furniture Ltd. had never progressed beyond a mere an invitation to treat. You assumed that an offer had been made and communicated 'acceptance'. If you had communicated to Evans Furniture Ltd. directly and immediately then it could have been different. However, you had also paid nothing to them for the option to keep the offer (the desks) open. Therefore, Evans Furniture Ltd. can make a contract with anyone, who communicates with them directly and immediately and you have no grounds to make a claim for possible breach of contract. If you have any further inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact the office. Yours Sincerely, Marini & Fischer Ltd. ...read more.

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