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Contract | Formation

Acceptance: Overview

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Acceptance: Overview

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  • agreement: offer & acceptance / objective test / complete meeting of minds: agreement in fact & communication of acceptance
  • Professor Treitel: acceptance .. a final and unqualified expression of assent to the terms of an offer... (The Law of Contract)

Awareness of the offer

  • only accepted if offeree aware offer existed
  • Australian / forgot reward/ gave info when accused (R v Clarke (1927))
  • gave info when dying / from stings of conscience not for reward / motive irrelevant / (Williams v Carwardine [1833])

Battle of the forms

  • two standard T & Cs / which one contract made on?
  • P offer with price variation clause / D order / P returned D's tear-off slip / on D's terms / Denning: all documents / agree material points then find decisive document / Lawton & Bridge: P accepted D's counter offer / more traditional & creates certainty (Butler Machine Tool v Ex-Cell-O [1979])
bits of law

Acceptance: Overview

[Flash Card 2 of 2]

Acceptance by conduct

  • battle of the forms: is there a contract at all?
  • coal for yrs / D draft written / P return with alterations / relationship continued 2 yrs / D accept P's counter offer (Brogden v Metropolitan Railway (1877))
  • negotiations fail: D reject P tender / P not reply D / no valid contract / P manufacture at D's request anticipating contract / D pay restitution (British Steel v Cleveland Bridge & Engineering [1984])


  • required / courts may refuse to enforce if: terms unclear or an important term omitted
  • van / on hire-purchase terms too vague / unenforceable (Scammell v Ouston [1941])
  • mushroom farm / clear agreement / formal contract unnecessary (Branca v Cobarro [1947])
  • usual conditions of acceptance / meaningless clauses irrelevant (Nicolene v Simmonds [1953])
  • trees / fair specification : seemingly vague words / between parties specific meaning & acted on assumption was contract / enforceable (Hillas v Arcos (1930))
bits of law
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