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Contract | Formation

Acceptance: Postal Rule

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Acceptance: Postal Rule

[Flash Card 1 of 2]

  • creates exception: acceptance complete on posting / general rule: acceptance completed when communicated
  • wool / in course of post / delay / today not revoked (Adams v Lindsell (1818))


  • acceptor: binding contract once posts acceptance / offeror: if stipulates must receive ousts postal rule
  • shares / lost in post / binding on posting / Thesiger: post office common agent / Bramwell: offeror avoid if states: Your answer by post is only to bind if it reaches me (Household Fire & Carriage Accident Insurance Co. v Grant (1879))


  • only applies to acceptance not other communication between parties / by post
  • if not apply: acceptance effective on communication (receipt of letter)

Not apply: unreasonable for acceptance be sent by post

  • telegram offer / implied speedy acceptance required (Quenerduaine v Cole (1883))

Not apply: not properly stamped / addressed / posted

  • bank / unauthorised postman (Re London & Northern Bank, ex p. Jones [1900])

Not apply: if displaced by offeror

  • property option / Latwon: implied must receive: notice.. to / manifest inconvenience & absurdity (Holwell Securities Ltd v Hughes [1974])
bits of law

Acceptance: Postal Rule

[Flash Card 2 of 2]


  • acceptor able to retract before communicated? / strictly not as binding once posted
  • debate / no English authority


  • rule benefit acceptor / should not disadvantage / offeror not suffer: unaware & can't act
  • servant / Scottish / acceptance retracted / but unclear majority (Countess of Dunmore v Alexander (1830))


  • unfair bias: acceptor benefit certainty & speculate by using retraction / imbalance if contract formed by postal rule: acceptor retract / offeror not revoke
  • marriage / New Zealand / acceptance not retracted / but third party issue (Wenkheim v Arndt (1873))
bits of law
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