With case examples, explain what is meant by the terms offer and acceptance, in reference to English Law.

Topics: Contract, Invitation to treat, Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company Pages: 2 (773 words) Published: October 20, 2014
With case examples, explain what is meant by the terms offer and acceptance, in reference to English Law.

1.        The terms offer and acceptance are terms most commonly found in contact law. An offer makes up the first part of a contract, it is imperative that the offer is definite. The term offer is defined by Treitel as: '...an expression of willingness to contract on specified terms, made with the intention that it is to become binding as soon as it is accepted by the person to whom it is addressed…' (Treitel 1999 P8) 2.         Offers must be definite, in able to be accepted. 'I…am prepared to offer you…my Lytham estate for £600,000…I also agree that a reasonable and sufficient time shall be granted to you for the examination and consideration of all the data and details necessary for the preparation of the schedule of completion.'  (Clifton v Palumbo [1944] 2 All ER 497). This case is an example of where there was no definite offer. It was held that this letter could not amount to an offer but was instead an invitation to treat to allow proceedings to occur and give a statement of the price. This was due to the fact that the wording was not clear and suggested that a further contract would be made. 3.           There is a difference between offers and invitations to treat. An example of an invitation to treat is an auction sale.  This is because 'an auctioneer can withdraw a lot before the fall of the hammer.' Payne v Cave (1789) 3 TR 148. It was decided that the auctioneer merely makes an invitation to treat. Bidders then make offers which at any point before the fall of the hammer, an auctioneer can chose to decline or accept. Shop displays are also not offers. They are also invitations to treat, which invites customers to make an offer to the shopkeeper, whom he can then chose to accept. '...the displaying of the knife in the shop window was merely an invitation to treat and the shopkeeper had not thereby offered the knife for sale...'Fisher v...
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