Appendix I - Timeline
Tue Thur Fri Mon Sat
“let me know
by next Saturday” Acceptance Telephone: Alice received
deadline posted withdrew both messages
Appendix II – Precedent: Holwell Securities Ltd v Hughes (1974) IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE
COURT OF APPEAL
On appeal from Order of Mr Justice Templeman.
Royal Courts of Justice,
5th November 1973
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE RUSSELL,
LORD JUSTICE BUCKLEY (Not present)
LORD JUSTICE LAWTON
HOLWELL SECURITIES LIMITED
THOMAS HILAIRE HUGHES
(Transcript of the Shorthand Notes of The Association of Official Shorthandwriters, Ltd., Room 392, Royal Courts of Justice, and 2, New Square, Lincoln's Inn, W.C.2).
Mr W.A. MACPHERSON, Q.C. and Mr HUBERT PICARDA (instructed by Messrs Brecher & Co.) appeared on behalf of the Appellants (Plaintiffs). Mr FRANK WHITWORTH, Q.C. and Mr ROGER ELLIS (instructed by Messrs Bulcraig & Davis) appeared on behalf of the Respondent (Defendant). ____________________
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LORD JUSTICE RUSSELL: This case is reposed below in 1973 1 Weekly Law Reports, 757* and for the purpose of the appeal from the decision of Mr Justice Templeman I need not rehearse the facts in detail. It is not disputed that the plaintiffs' solicitors' letter dated 14th April addressed to the defendant at his residence and place of work, the house which was the subject of the option to purchase, was posted by ordinary post in a proper way, enclosing a copy of the letter of the same date delivered by hand to the defendant's solicitors. It is not disputed that the letter and enclosure somehow went astray and never reached the house nor the defendant. It is not disputed that the language of the letter and enclosure would have constituted notice of exercise of the option had they reached the defendant. It is not contended that the handing of the letter to the solicitor constituted an exercise of the option. The plaintiffs' main contention below and before this Court has been that the option was exercised and the contract for sale and purchase was constituted at the moment that the letter addressed to the defendant with its enclosure was committed by the plaintiffs' solicitors to the proper representative of the postal service, so that its failure to reach its destination is irrelevant. It is the law in the first place that prima facie acceptance of an offer must be communicated to the offeror. Upon this principle the law has engrafted a doctrine that, if in any given case the true view is that the parties contemplated that the postal service might be used for the purpose of forwarding an acceptance of the offer, committal of the acceptance in a regular manner to the postal service will be acceptance of the offer so as to constitute a contract, even if the letter goes astray and is lost. Nor, as was once suggested, are such cases limited to cases in which the offer has been made by post. It suffices I think at this stage to refer toHenthorn v. Fraser (1892 2 Chancery, 27). In the present case, as I read a passage in the judgment below at page 764 "D", Mr Justice Templeman concluded that the parties here contemplated that the postal service might be used to communicate acceptance of the offer (by exercise of the option); and I agree with that. But that is not and cannot be the end of the matter. In any case, before one can find that the basic principle of the need for communication of acceptance to the offeror is displaced by this artificial concept of communication by the act of posting, it is necessary that the offer is in its terms consistent with such displacement and not one which by its terms points rather in the...
Dunmore v Alexander  9 SH 190
Entores Ltd v Miles Far East Corporation  2 QB 327
Gibson v Manchester City Council  UKHL 6
Household Fire Insurance Co v Grant (1879) 4 Ex D 216
Holwell Securities Ltd v Hughes  1 WLR 155,  EWCA Civ 5,  1 All ER 161,  WLR 155
Vanessa, S. (2010). An Introduction to Hong Kong Business Law. 4th Edition. Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd.
Catharine, M. & Richard, S. (2012). Elements of the law of contract. University of London.
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