Contract Validity - Acceptance | Report

Added on -2020-02-05

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Contract law
“An acceptance has been defined as ‘a final and unqualified expression of assent to the terms ofan offer”In accordance with the provisions of English law, acceptance is unequivocal and finalexpression of the assent to the offer provided by the party. In other words, acceptance can bedefined as consent provided by the offerree on the offer given by the offeror. Contract is said tobe formed between parties in situation where acceptance is provided by the offerree in anappropriate manner. Provision of English law states that acceptance must be an unqualified expression ofassets. This aspect demonstrates that parties are required to provide acceptance to the aspectwhich is offered by the offeror. In accordance with the provisions of English law, acceptancesupported by the condition or significant modification will be considered as counter offer. Insuch situation, further acceptance of initial party is required for the formation of valid contract.Further, in case of conditional acceptance or counter offer there is no contract between parties1. Due to this aspect, purported acceptance which varies from the terms of the offer is notconsidered as acceptance. Further, legal status of such statement will be fresh offer in whichinitial free for further acceptance or rejection. For this aspect case of Hyde v Wrench (1840) 2canbe referred. In accordance with its case facts, defendant had offered for the sale of farm to theclaimant in £1,000. Claimant had responded that he will give £950 which was refused by thedefendant. Further, claimant had decided for the purchase at original offer price but defendantdenied for the same. Due to this action, claimant sued defendant for the specific performance. Inthis case court held that there is no contract parties because counter offer destroys the initial offerand offerree is not entitled for its further acceptance3. In such situation, it is important to consider the correspondence between the partiesbecause after the counter offer response of initial party can be for inquiry instead of acceptance.This situation was occurred in the case of Stevenson, Jacques & co v Mclean (1880). In this case,defendant had offered for the sale of the iron to the plaintiff (provided offer was effective for the1Daniel Brawn, Extensions of time and liquidated damages in construction contracts in England and Wales[2012] 4(1) International Journal of Law in the Built Environment Pl.75 – 90.249 ER 132 3Philip Britton and Julian Bailey, New homes and consumer rights: England and Australia compared [2011]3(3) International Journal of Law in the Built Environment Pl.269 – 295.2
limited time period). Further, plaintiff had made inquiry for the contractual terms on whichresponse was not provided by defendant. Further, defendant had sent telegraph at 1.25 pm that allwarrants are sold and plaintiff sent telegram at 1.34 pm for the acceptance. Later, claimant sueddefendant for non-delivery of warrant. In this case court held that inquiry cannot be consideredas rejection of offer. Due to this aspect, plaintiff was held liable to provide damages for the same.An agreement is said to be enforceable by law only in situation where it is supported bythe provision of objectivity. Contracting parties must be agreed to the feasible terms else theiragreement will not be considered for the formation of contract. In the case of Scammell andNephew v Ouston 4 House of Lords there was lack of certainty and due to this aspect contractwas not considered valid by court of law. This aspect shows that, in this case agreement was notheld valid even it was supported by the provisions of offer and acceptance5.By considering the described provisions it can be said that acceptance is to be valid underprovisions of English law if it is different from cross offer, counter offer and inquiry. In additionto this it must be clear, absolute and unqualified. Mode of acceptance should be in accordancewith the terms of offer and it must be communicated to the offeror6. Similar facts can be noticed in the case of Sudbrook Trading Estate v. Eggleton [1983]7.In accordance with this case, tenant had option for purchase of freehold property in accordancewith the contractual terms of lease at a price determined by the two surveyors (one surveyor willbe appointed by landlord and one will be tenants). Further, tenant had sought to exercise theavailable option but landlord stated that clause was too vague for the applicability as it do notprovide specification of the price. In this case, court held that clause is not vague because it canbe enforceable by the ascertaining the mechanism for price. Communication is the most crucial factor for the assessment of validity of acceptance. Inaccordance with the general rule of English law, offeror must receive the acceptance before it iseffective. In other words it can be said that acceptance should be provided by the party in4[1941] AC 2515Aimite Jorge, The subsidiarity rule: the unjust enrichment doctrine in construction law [2013] 5(3)International Journal of Law in the Built Environment Pl.253 – 270.6Sergio Nasarre-Aznar, Robinhoodian” courts’ decisions on mortgage law in Spain [2015] 7(2) InternationalJournal of Law in the Built Environment Pl.127 – 147.7AC AC 4443

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