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

"The rules on offer and acceptance may have been adequate in the twentieth-century: they are inappropriate for the technologies of the twenty-first". Do you agree? Give your reasons.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The rules on offer and acceptance may have been adequate in the twentieth-century: they are inappropriate for the technologies of the twenty-first". Do you agree? Give your reasons. Contract formation in English law generally does not require the use of any particular communication method for making an offer or indicating an acceptance. The rules on offer and acceptance were revisited in the 19th century when it became necessary that reasonable degree of precision and certainty be attained in any legal dealings especially with the growth of business transactions and the need to meet up with the technologies of the time. This led to the evolution of 'postal rule', which states that an acceptance once posted becomes effective rather than when it is received. This was a deviation from the normal way of contract formation, which requires an acceptance to be received before it becomes binding. The rules as we will discover were precise and stipulated a definite approach in determining at what point a contract becomes binding. The purpose of the rule was to create certainty especially in business, however, the consequence of this is that it is often difficult to fit the precise model of the postal rule within the modern day means of communication which is characterised by the influx of electronic means of transaction such as the internet, telephone, fax, telex and so on. This essay will focus on an analysis of which of the two rules - postal and pre-postal - will be most applicable in terms of contract formation using these electronic media most prevalent in the 21st century. Offer and Acceptance In determining the existence of an agreement in any contract, it is important to determine if there has been an event which is capable of ...read more.

Middle

it reasonably deems to be inappropriate.26 If the postal rule were applied, then acceptance would normally27 be effective as soon as it is received in the network. E-mail Acceptances E-mail is a digital means of communication by computers joined together in a network28. It can be used to make an offer and or to communicate an acceptance. There has been no case law on the acceptance of an offer through email, but to ascertain if 'postal rule' can govern communication by e-mail, we need to examine the process of delivering viz a viz that of postage. Email may be instantaneous, but it does not go directly to its destination, it goes through a host, which is likened to the post office. The problem with communication through e-mail is in asserting what stage a receipt has been acknowledged; if it would be at the point of being received by the Internet Service Provider, or at the point of being delivered at the recipient's mailbox or at the point that it is being read by the recipient. Delays in transmission of e-mail messages, incorrect addresses, and other identifiable factors, which may impede the receipt of the e-mail communication, can thus be likened to invalid addresses and wrong sorting that can be experienced in postage. In order to promote business certainty, the postal rule will be applied where it is reasonable to expect instantaneous receipt of the e-mail when communicated. It can also be argued that Electronic mail acceptance meets the general rule of contract formation whereby when an offer and an acceptance are to be communicated by electronic mail the acceptance is effective when it is received. ...read more.

Conclusion

Proper Receipt: A document shall be deemed to have been properly received when it is accessible to the receiver at its receipt computer. No document shall be of any legal effect until it is received. 26 See above 4.03. Acknowledgement of Receipt: Each party shall properly acknowledge receipt of each document received by it. 5.03. Incomplete, Inaccurate or Corrupted Document: If the receiver of a document or other communication through EDI network reasonably suspects that it is incomplete, inaccurate, corrupted in transmission, or not intended for him, he shall promptly notify the sender and request clarification. 27 It should not be effective at that point for example, if it does not arrive at the offeror's computer because the acceptor misaddressed it. Such a qualification applies in the context of the postal rule. See Household Fire Insurance v Grant 28 Akdeniz Wall, and Walker, ed., The Internet, Law and Society, Harlow: Longman 2000 p349 29 All Internet communications are packet switched. This means that they are sent as several packets rather than one whole. If any where to go missing, the information would be corrupted, therefore the client receives with the information package a checksum, a calculation of how much information should be and if the checksum does not match the information, the client knows there is missing/incorrect information and can request for it to be resent. 30 See Davies, supra n.3, at 106. A he pointed out, messages sent internet travel several intermediate servers but these servers merely forward information in the same way as a standard telephone network carries the necessary electronic impulses of a telephone conversation. 31[1983] 2 A.C. 34 32 COM (1998) 586; OJ 1999/C 30/04 Article 11 33 Halson Rodger, Contract Law, p.158 also see Consumer Credit Act 1974, ss 67-73 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Contract Law 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 University Degree Contract Law essays

  1. Free essay

    Postal rule was an arbitrary choice in the 19th Century. Modern technologies make it ...

    The Postal Rule for Revocation However, if it was reasonable to establish a specific postal rule for acceptance, consequently there may be another necessary rule concerning revocations of offers. In the case of communication by post, the general rule is that "Dispatch of a letter or telegram of acceptance by the offeree terminates the offeror's power of revocation.

  2. law of contract-offer and acceptance

    exclude the liability of the party inserting it for breach of contract and can be incorporated into a contract in many different ways. However, the party may only rely on such a clause if (a) it has been incorporated into the contract, and if, (b)

  1. This paper discusses the start-up, organisation and conduct of the company "Anders & Birgitte" ...

    B does in fact choose to affirm the contract and the question is whether B have recourses and as already mentioned, B has the full remedy to claim damages, since S in accordance with s. 23, is liable for the delay.

  2. Essay on Construction Contract scenario. Ram Solutions (The Contractor), delivering a 15m new ...

    The situation regarding the ground issues does not warrant a claim under the law of tort as the loss is purely economical. However there was a duty of care owed by the contractor under the law of tort to the pupil injured on their site.

  1. Offer and Acceptance

    circumstances the offeror is the better placed to enquire into whether an acceptance has in fact been sent out by the offeree and so the offeree should be entitled to rely on a contract formed on dispatch of acceptance. However, as he notes, referring to the work of Sharp4, the

  2. Free essay

    contract essay

    1 Collins, H Law of Contract [4th edition] London: Buttersworth 2003 pg 118 2 Storer vs Manchester city council [1974] 1 WLR 1403 3 Howarth,W The Meaning of Objectivity In Contract [1984] Law Quartely Review Vol 100 pg 4 Brownsword, R Contract Law Themes For the Twenty First Century [2nd

  1. The Postal Acceptance Rule: Should we follow in Scotland's steps?

    But why should posting have any significance? Surely other means of proof of intention to accept should then also be valid. Another reason for the rule is that the Post Office is employed as a common agent to both parties, and a communication to this agent completes a contract17.

  2. Offer and Acceptance Case. Advise Angus, Bruce and Colin whether they have a ...

    This would be similar to the case in Adams v Lindsell (1818) where it outlines that a contract is formed as soon as the letter is put in the post-box (ibid). However, the original offer insisted on receiving the acceptance from Colin.

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