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30 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Definition of the term 'Offer'

An expression of willingness to contract made within the intention that it shall become binding on the offeror as soon as it is accepted by the offeree

Difference between a 'Unilateral' and 'Bilateral' offer

Unilateral offer - made to one of more than one specific party

Bilateral offer - an offer made to 'the world at large'

Definition of the term 'Invitation to treat'

An occasion where a party is merely inviting offers, which he is then free to accept of reject

Pharmaceutical society of Great Britain v Boots Chemists (1953)

Rule of Law: The display of goods on a shelf is not an offer to sell but an invitation for customers to make an offer to buy

Case info: Boots introduced a self-service system into their stores whereby customers bought medicine without the presence of a pharmacist

Fisher v Bell (1960)

Rule of Law: The display of goods with a price ticket attached in a shop window is not an offer to sell but an invitation for customers to make an offer to buy

Case info: The defendant had a flick knife displayed in his shop window with a price tag on it

Partridge v Crittenden (1968)

Rule of Law: Advertisements of goods for sale are normally interpreted as invitations to treat

Case info: The defendant placed an advert in a magazine offering protected birds for sale

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (1893)

Rule of Law: Advertisements may be construed as offers if they are unilateral

Case info: A newspaper advert was placed for 'smoke balls' to prevent influenza, if the consumer contracted the disease after using the product they were entitled to £100

Harvey v Facey (1893)

Rule of Law: A 'mere enquiry' for information is simply and enquiry, NOT an offer or invitation to treat

Case info: The defendant asked questions through a telegram, the plaintiff understood it as an offer and claimed for the costs

Definition of 'tender'

An act of the debtor where he produces the amount owing and offers to the creditor

Harvela Investments v Royal Trust Co. of Canada (1985)

Rule of Law: Submission of the highest bid is binding to the offeror as the invitation to submit tenders amounted to an offer

Case info: The defendant accepted a bid lower than that to the plaintiff's

Blackpool Aero Club v Blackpool Borough Council (1990)

Rule of Law: an invitation for tenders may constitute an offer of a unilateral contract

Case info: The defendant did not consider the tender of the plaintiff even though it was submitted

Definition of 'auction'

A sale conducted by an auctioneer, at which property is sold usually to the highest bidder

Payne v Cave (1789)

Rule of Law: an auctioneer's request for bids is not an offer but an invitation to treat

Case info: The defendant withdrew his bid before the auctioneer brought down his hammer.It was held that the defendant was not bound to purchase the goods. His bid amounted to an offer which he was entitled to withdraw at any time before the auctioneer signified acceptance by knocking down the hammer

Barry v Davies (2000)

Rule of Law: Where an auction takes place without reserve the auctioneer makes a unilateral offer which is accepted by submitting the highest bid. There was thus a binding contract and the claimant is entitled to damages covering the loss

Case info: The winning bid at the auction for two machines was £28’000 less than the worth

Gibson v Manchester City Council (1979)

Rule of Law: Agreement only exists when there is a clear offer mirrored by a clear acceptance

Case info: The plaintiff was refused sale of his council house after he accepted a previous offer from the defendant

Taylor v Laird (1856)

Rule of Law: An offer needs to be communicated clearly for it to be accepted

Case info: A retired captain provided navigation services for the remainder of a voyage even though this had not been requested by the owner of the ship. As such the owner did not have the opportunity to refuse or accept the offer as he had no knowledge of its existence. There was no binding contract.

Circumstances where the offer is terminated

- Rejection

- Revocation

- Counter Offers

- Lapse of time

- Death

Termination of the Offer - Revocation of an offer

An offer may be revoked by the offeror at any time until it is accepted

Byrne v Van Tienhoven (1880)

Rule of Law: An offer may be withdrawn any time prior to acceptance but once it has been accepted it becomes irrevocable

Case info: Due to the Postal Rule the defendant acceptance of the offer became a binding contract, and so the telegraph sent on the same day was invalid

Routledge v Grant (1828)

Rule of Law: An offer can be revoked even if the offeror has promised to keep the offer open for a specified time

Case info: The defendant offered to buy the plaintiffs house for a specific price with a definite answer to be given within 6 week, the defendant was not bound to keep the offer open

Dickinson v Dodds (1876)

Rule of Law: Revocation of an offer does not need to be communicated by the offeror personally, it is sufficient if it is done through a reliable third party

Case info: The defendant offered to sell his house to the claimant and promised to keep the offer open until Friday. However, he accepted another offer. The defendant then asked a friend to tell the claimant that the offer was withdrawn.

Shuey v United States (1875)

Rule of Law: Unilateral offers may be revoked by taking reasonable steps

Case info: The defendant posted an award for information leading to the apprehension of a particular criminal, and then revoked the offer. The Plaintiff was unaware of the revocation and provided the information

Errington v Errington (1952)

Rule of Law: Once the offeree has commenced performance of a unilateral offer, the offeror may not revoke the offer

Case info: Father bought house for son and daughter in law, stating that he would transfer title to them once they repaid the mortgage, by weekly installments. However, the father died before they paid off mortgage and widow sued for the house

Daulia v Four Mill Bank (1978)

Rule of Law: Once the offeree has commenced performance of a unilateral offer, the offeror may not revoke the offer

Case info: The claimant wished to purchase property form the defendant, and so verbal terms had been agreed without a written contract. When the claimant complied with the request, the defendant refused so sell the property

Termination of the Offer - Counter offer

Making a counter offer automatically rejects the prior offer, and requires an acceptance under the terms of the counter offer or there is no contract

Hyde v Wrench (1840)

Rule of Law: Where a counter offer is made this destroys the original offer so that it is no longer open to the offeree to accept

Case info: The defendant offered to sell a farm to the claimant for £1,000. The claimant in reply offered £950 which the defendant refused. The claimant then sought to accept the original offer of £1,000. The defendant refused to sell to the claimant

Termination of the Offer - Lapse of Time

Where an offer is stated to be open for a specific length of time, the offer automatically terminates when that time limit expires. Where there is no express time limit, an offer is normally open only for a reasonable time

Ramsgate Victoria Hotel v Montefiore (1866)

Rule of Law: An offer is no longer open as the offer is lapsed after a reasonable period of time

Case info: The defendant offered to purchase shares at a certain price. Six months later the claimant accepted this offer by which time the value of the shares had fallen. The defendant had not withdrawn the offer but refused to go through with the sale.

Termination of the Offer - Death

The offeree cannot accept an offer after notice of the offeror's death.


If the offeree does not know of the offeror's death, and there is no personal element involved, the he may accept the offer

Bradbury v Morgan (1862)

Rule of Law: The offeree cannot accept an offer after notice of the offeror's death

Case info: The defendant guaranteed his brother's account till £100. However when he died and the plaintiffs, continued supplying credit. The plaintiff did not know of the death