(solved) Contract Law - PDF
Added on - 21 Apr 2020
Running head: CONTRACT LAWContract LawName of the StudentName of the UniversityAuthor Note
1CONTRACT LAWKeith A. Rowley’s article, ‘You Asked for it, You Got it... Toy Yoda: Practical Jokes, Prizesand Contract LawThis article discusses about the assent, contractual intent and consideration issues that areinvolved in offers or acceptances that are made jokingly or in jest, contests, reward offers andother related topics. This article further talk about the essential factors that form a valid contract,such as offer, acceptance, consideration, legal intention to be bound by the contract and legalcapacity to enter into a contract. The broad theories of contract have been stating that the lawregulating the formation of contract is objective in nature although there are certain subjectiveelements1. A person acts in reliance only after comprehending that someone has made acommitment. It is the appearance of intention that matters the most and while it often refers tomutual assent, it takes place through performing or promising and an act of promising is definedas a manifestation of a commitment. The author discusses the case explicitly to explain theobjective manifestation of assent test to safeguard the rights of the parties against persons whobreaches the contractual terms on the ground that the agreement was made in jest.In the given case, the arguments regarding whether the contract formed between Berryand Blaire was legally binding involves two essential questions. Firstly, whether the statementmade by Blaire was in jest such that it cannot be considered as acceptable by Berry’sperformance2. Secondly, whether the statement made by Blaire amounted to a valid offer to forma contract that is acceptable on Berry’s performance, even if such statement was not made in jest.In regards to the first question whether any agreement made in jest can be considered as bindingcontract, the legal principle has been explained inLucy v Zehmer 3. The objective theoryof assent was applied by the court in this case. The defendant attempted to exempt from hiscontractual liabilities on the ground that he was joking while the agreement was made or that hedid not have any legal intention to fulfill the promise he made to the plaintiff.TheSupreme Court of Virginiaheld that if the words and conduct of a person isconstrued by a reasonable standard, it manifests an intention to agree irrespective of the factwhether such conduct or words were merely a state of mind. Therefore, under suchcircumstances, a person cannot state that he was joking or jesting while the agreement was made.1McKendrick, Ewan. Contract law: text, cases, and materials. Oxford University Press (UK), 2014.2Poole, Jill. Textbook on contract law. Oxford University Press, 2016.3 84 S.E.2d 516.
2CONTRACT LAWIf the words or the conduct of the person is such that any prudent person would believe that, suchperson had legal intention to bind the contract agreement. In the Lucy’s case, it was held asimmaterial whether the writing that the defendant signed was the outcome of the serious offerthat was made by Lucy and accepted by the defendant or whether such offer and acceptancebetween the parties was held in jest. Under either circumstance, it amounted to a binding salecontract between the parties.Further, inMullen v Christiansen [Alaska 1982]4, the court held that a party who avertshis/her contractual obligations, which otherwise is considered as a valid contract, shall bear theonus of proof that the parties did not have any legal intention to form a valid contract, despite thepresence of objective manifestations of assent. The fact that there were differences that arosesubsequently between the parties to the contract cannot be considered as sufficient evidence toestablish validity of the original contract. Furthermore, the self-serving testimony of the partiesto the contract with respect to their subjective intentions is not sufficient evidence to establishwhether the parties have entered into the contract5.In Berry’s case, in regards to the first formation issue whether the statement made byBlaire was in jest such that it cannot be considered as acceptable by Berry’s performance, it canbe stated that Berry’s performance makes it clear that the statement made by Berry did amount toformation of a contract. This is evident from the fact when Blair stated the winner should receivea new Toyota6. As the contest advanced, Blair told Berry that he is not sure whether the contestwinner would receive a Toyota truck, van or car, but she would have to pay registration fees onthe vehicle. Any prudent person would have comprehended from the statement made by Blairthat is was not made in jest and was a contract. He further blindfolded Berry and led her to theparking lot of the restaurant, which signifies that she was to be rewarded with the alleged ToyotaCar. Therefore, his conducts as well as his words establishes the fact that it manifests anintention to agree irrespective of the fact whether such conduct or words were merely a state ofmind. Furthermore, any prudent person would believe that, Blair had legal intention to bind thecontract agreement from his conduct and words.4[Alaska 1982] 642 P.2d 1345, 1350.5Frazier, Adrian. "Irish Acting in the Early Twentieth Century."The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre.2016.6Berry v Gulf Coast Wings Inc