Case note: Blackpool and Fylde Aero Club v Blackpool Borough Council

Topics: Contract, Common law, Contract law Pages: 10 (2937 words) Published: February 16, 2007
CONTENTS PAGE:

Facts of the case.............................................................3

Procedural history...........................................................4

Legal issues in dispute......................................................4

The decision..................................................................3

Analytical Discussion of the implications for the principles of law

regarding offer and acceptance............................................6

Current law in Australia regarding offer and acceptance..............10

Theoretical perspective.....................................................12

Conclusion...................................................................14

Bibliography.................................................................17

Blackpool and Fylde Aero Club v Blackpool Borough Council

Facts of the Case:

The Defendant's, a local council, owned and operated Blackpool Airport, and since 1975 had granted the Plaintiff's club a concession to operate pleasure flights out of the airport . In 1983 when the last concession was to expire, the Council sent out to seven potentially interested parties (including the Plaintiff) an invitation to tender for a three year concession. The invitation was in common form, it stipulated that the Council 'does not bind itself to accept all or any part of any tender' and that all tenders were to be submitted in the envelope provided with the upmost confidentiality in mind. It further stated that any tenders received after the date and time specified would not be considered.

The Plaintiff's posted their tender in accordance with the time specifications and instructions. However because of an oversight the Town Clerk Staff failed to empty the letter box that day and subsequently the Plaintiff's tender was recorded as being too late for consideration.

The Defendant's accepted another tender (lower than the Plaintiff's) and the Club then bought an action against the Council for breach of contract and negligence (which will not be discussed here). The claim contended that the Council had warranted that if a tender was received in accordance with their instructions it would be duly considered and the Council had acted in breach of that warranty.

Procedural History:

The case originated in the Queens Bench Division at Manchester District Registry, presided over by Judge Jolly. The Council then appealed the decision of Judge Jolly to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). The appeal was heard by Stocker, Bingham and Farquharson L.J.J. with Bingham L.J. delivering the lead judgement of the unanimous court. The appeal was dismissed with costs and the application for leave to appeal to the House of Lords was refused .

Legal issues in dispute:

The main issue in dispute was that under the traditional view of offer and acceptance the general rule regarding tenders is that an invitation to tender was merely an invitation to treat, that is a request by the Council for parties to submit offers. The Council argued that if any of these offers were to be accepted, only then would it give rise to contractually binding obligations . In the alternative the club claimed that an invitation to tender could give rise to binding contractual obligations in certain circumstances.

Further dispute arose about formation as the trial court had found a unilateral contract through implication. The Council argued on the basis of the Judgement in Liverpool City Council v Irwin that courts should be stringent about implying a contract and "terms should not be implied because it is reasonable to do so" . The club argued in the alternative.

The court also had to resolve the dispute as to whether or not the parties had a clear intention to contract, however this issue is not discussed further in this case note.

The Decision:

It was held in dismissing the appeal that an invitation to tender was normally no more than an...


Bibliography: BIBLIOGRAPHY
Arrowsmith S ' The "Blackpool" implied contract governing public sector tenders: A review in the light of Pratt and other recent case law ' (2004) 5 Public Procurement Law Review 125-131
Chandler A and Brown I 'Intent and Contract Formation ' [1991] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 149-151
Paterson J, Robertson A and Heffey P, 'The principles of contract law ' (2nd Edition, Lawbook Co, Sydney, 2005) Ch 3
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