Contract Essay

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Gertie places a notice in the trade journal ‘Mung Monthly' saying that she would pay £2000 against a ‘wood nymph' Mung vase with its authenticity certificate.

The question is to know whether Gertie's proposal is an offer and could lead to a contract . The notice in the trade journal stays a proposal to the public. This proposal could amount to an offer if it is intended to result in a contract, if the other party accepts it, and if it contains sufficiently definite terms to form a contract. Gertie's notice is sufficiently definite (there is the price and the vase design) to be treated as an offer. But is her proposal could be regarded as an invitation to treat? Two arguments show that Gertie's notice does not have to be treated as an invitation to treat. First, the notice specifies that Gertie will pay a particular sum of money against a particular type of vase . This kind of proposal excludes the idea of negotiations . Second, Gertie's proposal is an advertisement in a trade journal . And it was held in the case of Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (1893) that the advertisement was not an invitation to treat but an offer to the whole world. Furthermore, Gertie may wish prospective suppliers to know that they will be able to deliver the vase by accepting the proposal and that they do not risk refusal of their ‘acceptance‘. Thus, Gertie's proposal is to be treated as an offer.

Both Maurice and Fred have seen the notice in the trade journal and they have a ‘wood nymph' Mung vase.

It is interesting to see how Maurice has tried to make a new proposal in asking to Gertie whether a ‘tree frog' vase would do. Is this kind of proposal a counter-offer?
To my mind, Maurice has just asked to Gertie whether she was interested in the ‘tree frog' vase. It is not a real counter-offer. A counter-offer would have been in that case a purported acceptance which would have change the price,...
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