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Contract | Formation

Offer: Termination

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Offer: Termination

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  • general rule: offer withdrawn any time prior to acceptance / once accepted irrevocable (Routledge v Grant (1828))


  • promise keep offer open specified time / not usually binding / unless consideration
  • buy house / 6 months / £1 / sufficient consideration ( Mountford v Scott [1975])


  • revocation must be communicated by offeror to offeree (Byrne & Co. v Van Tienhoven & Co. (1880))
  • exceptions: notice of withdrawal sent to offeree's last known address / offeree receives but decides reads

Public offers

  • US / withdrawal 'same notoriety' as offer / sufficient (Shuey v United States (1875))

Business hours

  • sent during normal office hours / expect received / reasonable expectations of sender (The Brimnes [1975])

Third party

  • offeree decide if informant reliable / objective: reasonable man (Dickinson v Dodds (1876))

Unilateral contracts

  • McGovney: two offers / express: pay on performance / implied: not revoke commence in reasonable time
  • cannot be revoked / offeree commenced performance (Errington v Errington and Woods [1952])
bits of law

Offer: Termination

[Flash Card 2 of 2]


  • acceptance to exact terms / if different counter offer / not acceptance
  • counter offer : implied rejection of original offer / original offer cannot be revived & accepted (Hyde v Wrench [1840])
  • mere query: offer still valid / can be accepted (Stevenson, Jacques & Co. v McLean (1880))

Lapse of time

  • offer lapse after express time limit: 6 weeks (Routledge v Grant (1828))
  • offer lapse after reasonable time: telegram offer speedy acceptance required (Quenerduaine v Cole (1883)) / shares 5 months delay (Ramsgate Victoria Hotel Ltd v Monte Fiori (1866))

Failure to meet a condition

  • conditional offer: condition not met / cannot be accepted
  • express or implied condition: second hand car (Financings Ltd v Stimson [1962]) / life insurance not after injury (Looker v Law Union [1928])
bits of law
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