Agreement in English law


Agreement in English law

Agreement in English law is a part of English contract law which establishes the first stage in the existence of a contract. The three main elements of contractual formation are whether there is (1) offer and acceptance (agreement) (2) consideration (3) an intention to be legally bound.

One of the most famous cases on forming a contract is "Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company", ["Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company" [1893] 2 QB 256] decided in nineteenth-century England. A medical firm advertised that its new wonder drug, a smoke ball, would cure people's flu, and if it did not, buyers would receive £100. When sued, Carbolic argued the ad was not to be taken as a serious, legally binding offer. It was merely an invitation to treat, and a gimmick. But the court of appeal held that it would appear to a reasonable man that Carbolic had made a serious offer. People had given good "consideration" for it by going to the "distinct inconvenience" of using a faulty product. "Read the advertisement how you will, and twist it about as you will," said Lindley LJ, "here is a distinct promise expressed in language which is perfectly unmistakable".

Offer

The most important feature of a contract is that one party makes an offer for a bargain that another accepts. This can be called a 'concurrence of wills' or a 'meeting of the minds' of two or more parties. There must be evidence that the parties had each from an objective perspective engaged in conduct manifesting their assent, and a contract will be formed when the parties have met such a requirement. [e.g. Lord Steyn, "Contract Law: Fulfilling the Reasonable Expectations of Honest Men" (1997) 113 LQR 433; c.f. § 133 BGB in Germany, where "the actual will of the contracting party, not the literal sense of words, is to be determined"] An objective perspective means that it is only necessary that somebody gives the impression of offering or accepting contractual terms in the eyes of a reasonable person, not that they actually did want to contract.

Invitations to treat

Where a product in large quantities is advertised for in a newspaper or on a poster, it is generally regarded as an offer, however if the person who is to buy the advertised product is of importance, i.e. his personality etc, when buying e.g. land, it is merely an invitation to treat. In Carbolic Smoke Ball, the major difference was that a reward was included in the advertisement which is a general exception to the rule and is then treated as an offer.

*"Fisher v. Bell" [1961] 1 QB 394
*"Pharmaceutical Society v. Boots Cash Chemists" [1953] 1 QB 401
*"Spencer v. Harding" (1870) LR 5 CP 561
*"Harvey v. Facey" [1893] AC 552

Offers generally

*"Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co." [1893] 1 QB 256

Auctions

*"Warlow v. Harrison" (1859) 1 E & E 309; 120 ER 925
*"Barry v. Davies (t/a Heathcote Ball & Co.)" [2001] 1 All ER 944
*Sale of Goods Act 1979, s. 57(2)

Acceptance

Counter-offers

*"Hyde v. Wrench" (1840) 3 Bea 334
*"Stevenson v. McLean" (1880) 5 QBD 346

Acceptance by Conduct

*"Brogden v Metropolitan Ry Co" (1877) 2 App Cas 666

Prescribed Method of Acceptance

*"Manchester Diocesan Council for Education v Commercial Investments Ltd" [1969] 3 All ER 1593

Knowledge and Reliance on offer

*"Williams v. Carwardine" (1833) 5 C & P 566; 172 ER 1101
*"R v. Clarke" (1927) 40 CLR 227

Cross-offers

*"Tinn v. Hoffman" (1873) 29 LT 271

"Battle of the forms"

*"Butler Machine Tool Co Ltd v Ex-cello Cpn (England) Ltd" [1979] 1 WLR 401

Acceptance in case of tenders

*"Harvela Investments Ltd v. Royal Trust Co of Canada" [1986] AC 207
*"Blackpool & Fylde Aero Club v. Blackpool BC" [1990] 1 WLR 1195

Communication of acceptance

Necessity for communication

Waiver

*"Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co"

ilence a condition of acceptance

*"Felthouse v Bindley" (1862) 11 CBNS 869
*Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2334) Reg 24

Post or telegram

*"Henthorn v. Fraser" [1892] 2 Ch 27
*"Holwell Securities Ltd v. Hughes" [1974] 1 WLR 155

Telex

*"Entores Ltd v. Miles Far East Corporation" [1955] 2 QB 327
*"Brinkibon Ltd v. Stahag Stahl mbH" [1983] 2 AC 34
*"The Brimnes" [1975] QB 929

Revocation of Acceptance

*Hudson ‘Retraction of Letters of Acceptance’ (1966) 82 "Law Quarterly Review" 169

Termination of offer

Revocation

*"Routledge v. Grant" (1828) 4 Bing 653; 130 ER 920
*"Byrne v. Van Tienhoven" (1880) 5 CPD 344
*"Dickinson v. Dodds" [1876] 2 Ch D 463
*"Errington v. Errington" [1952] 1 KB 290

Rejection

Lapse of time

*"Manchester Diocesan Council for Education v. Commercial Investments Ltd"

Death of offeror

*"Bradbury v. Morgan" (1862) 1 H & C 249; 158 ER 877

Death of offeree

ee also

*English tort law
*Consideration in English law

Notes

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Consideration in English law — is one of the three main building blocks of a contract. Consideration can be anything of value (such as an item or service), which each party to a legally binding contract must agree to exchange if the contract is to be valid. If only one party… …   Wikipedia

  • Misrepresentation in English law — is an area of English contract law, which allows a person to escape a contractual obligation or claim compensation for losses. If one person can show that she entered an agreement because of another person s false assurances, then the other… …   Wikipedia

  • Duress in English law — For United States law on the criminal defense, as well as for duress in contract law, see duress. Duress in English law is a complete common law defence, operating in favour of those who commit crimes because they are forced or compelled to do so …   Wikipedia

  • Mistakes in English law — Mistake is a term of art in both contract law and criminal law in England and Wales. Contents 1 Contract law 1.1 Common mistake 1.2 Mutual mistake 1.3 Unilateral mistake to identity …   Wikipedia

  • Manslaughter in English law — Homicide Murder …   Wikipedia

  • Mistake in English law — is an English contract law doctrine which sets out the conditions on which a contract may become void. A mistake is an incorrect understanding by one or more parties to a contract and may be used as grounds to invalidate the agreement. Common law …   Wikipedia

  • Occupiers' liability (English law) — Occupiers liability is a field of tort law, codified in statute, which concerns the duty of care that those who occupy property owe to people who visit or trespass. It deals with liability that may arise from accidents caused by the defective or… …   Wikipedia

  • Consideration under English law — Consideration is one of the three main building blocks of a contract in English contract law. Consideration can be anything of value (such as an item or service), which each party to a legally binding contract must agree to exchange if the… …   Wikipedia

  • Hearsay in English law — History of the ruleThe rules of hearsay began to form properly in the late seventeenth century and had become fully established by the early nineteenth century. The issues were analysed in substantial detail in Wright v Doe d Tatham [(1837) 7 Ad… …   Wikipedia

  • Employment contract in English law — An employment contract in English law is a specific kind of contract whereby one person performs work under the direction of another. The two main features of a contract is that work is exchanged for a wage, and that one party stands in a… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.