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Contract law: Offer Cheat Sheet by

This cheat sheet provides a quick reference to concepts and cases in contract law pertaining offer.

Invitation to treat

Partridge v. Crittenden [1968] 1 WLR 1204
An advert­isement is an invitation to treat. It is an expression of willin­gness to receive offers as the starting point of negoti­ations.
Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company Ltd [1893] 1 QB 256
Unilateral offers can be made to the world at large and acceptance need not be commun­icated
Pharma­ceu­tical Society of Great Britain v. Boots [1953] 1 All ER 482
The display of goods in a self-s­ervice shop is an invitation to treat
Fisher v. Bell [1961] 1 QB 394
The display of goods in a shop window is an invitation to treat
British Car Auctions v. Wright [1972] 1 WLR 1519
An auction sale (bid) is an invitation to treat.
Harvey v. Facey [1893] AC 552
A statement of price is not an offer capable of acceptance

Commun­ication of offers

Taylor v. Laird [1856] 25 LJ Ex 329
In order to be valid an offer must be commun­icated to the offeree. This means that no party can be bound by an offerof which they were unaware.
Inland Revenue Commis­sioners v. Fry [2001] STC 1715
The offeree must have clear knowledge of the existence of the offer for it to be valid and thus enforc­eable.

Termin­ation of offers

Byrne v. Van Tienhoven [1880] 5 CPD 344
The commun­ication of revocation must be received
Errington v. Errington & Woods [1952] 1 KB 290
Where there is unilateral offer, it cannot be revoked if the perfor­mance has commenced.
Ramsgate Victoria Hotel v. Montefiore [1866] LR 1 Ex 109
Offers can lapse after reasonable time. What is reasonable would depend on the offer anf the subject matter of the contract.
Financings Ltd. v. Stimson [1962] 1 WLR 1184
Offers terminate when certain conditions have not been met by a party.
Bradbury v. Morgan [1862] 1 H & C 249
Where the offeror dies before the offer is accepted, the the offeror's personal repres­ent­atives may still be bound by an acceptance provided that the offeree is ignorant of the offeror's death.
Reynolds v. Atherton [1921] 125 LT 690
Where the offeree dies before accept­ance, then the offer lapses and the offeree's personale repres­ent­atives will be unable to accept on behalf of the deceased.


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