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Contract Law Case Law


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Pars Technology v City Link 1999
Acceptance has to be unconditional and must comply with the exact terms of the offer - the mirror rule
Daulia Ltd v Four Millbank Nominees Ltd
No act of part performance so unilateral contract not bound. However, Goff LJ said, 'The true view of the unilateral contract must in general be that the offeror is entitled to require full performance of the condition that he has imposed and short of that he is not bound.'
British Steel v Cleveland Bridge & Engineering 1984
Letter of intent only makes a non-legally binding contract. ' is the intention of Cleveland Bridge & Engineering to enter into a subcontract with your company...' British Steel started doing job but CB & E went elsewhere. Held that only agreement to agree so no contract.
Gillatt v Sky TV 2000
Accountant supposed to be nominated by both parties to arrange the value of shares. Neither party nominated - held to simply be an Agreement to agree as neither party was serious about the deal.
Sudbrook v Eggleton 1983
Price to be decided by 2 independent agents. Only 1 party nominated a valuer. Held to be a contract as party who didn't nominate may have wanted to get out of a bad business deal - unfair as both parties wanted to do a deal at some point.
May & Butcher v R 1934
Sales of Goods Act 1979 - no price fixed = no contract.
Walford v Miles 1992
Lord Ackner, 'A bare agreement to negotiate has no legal content'.
Raffles v Wichelhaus 1864
Vagueness of terms - two ships named peerless. Not held to be a contract.
Scammell v Ouston 1941
Higher purchase terms were never truly defined so no contract existed.
Hillas v Arcos 1932
Court rectified vagueness of terms as two parties had done business before so the uncertainty was seen as 'being what the two parties have done before'.
Nicolene v Simmonds 1953
Courts can remove meaningless clauses from a contract to make it work
Haman Assi v Leeds Metropolitan University 2001
Incomplete contract; practically no detail so court didn't hold it as a contract.
Jordan Grand Prix v Vodafone 2003
Incomplete sponsorship deal that couldn't be held as a contract due to vague terms.
Manchester Diocesan Council v Commercial Investments 1970
If method of acceptance is convenient then party is bound. Held to be a contract despite buyer wanting out.
Sterling Hydraulics Ltd v Dichtomatik 2007
Last shot principle overruled as terms were barely even mentioned during the negotiations yet D tried to claim contract should be carried out on terms of earlier deals.
Balmoral Group Ltd v Borealis 2006
If terms are not clearly stated by one party but are clearly stated by the other then last shot principle is overruled.
Trollope and Colls ltd v Atomic Power Constructions ltd 1963
Justice Megaw, 'Counter offer kills the original offer'. Last counter offer that receives acceptance is the one that's used - last shot principle.
Butler Machine Co v Ex-Cell-O Corporation 1979
More modern example of the last shot principle in action.
Stevenson, Jacques & Co v McLean 1888
A request for further information keeps the original offer open unlike a counter offer.
Hyde v Wrench 1840
A counter offer nullifies the original offer.
Warlow v Harrison 1859
If no reserve price then an auctioneer must sell to the highest bidder.
Tinn v Hoffman 1873
Cross Offer - offers of the same content sent between a buyer and a seller do not make a binding contract. Offer and acceptance is required.
Luxor v Cooper 1941
Agent commission for house sale case. Owner entitled to revoke offer so agent not entitled to commission, however, HoL said this matter was subject to 'circumstances of the case'.
Errington v Errington 1952
Lord Denning, 'The father's promise was a unilateral contract - a promise of the house in return for their act of paying the instalments. It could not be revoked by him once the couple entered on performance of the act, but it would cease to bind him if they left it incomplete and unperformed, which they have not done. If that was the position during the father's lifetime, so it must be after his death.'
Routledge v Grant 1828
Offers can be revoked at any time unless they are coupled with an option agreement.
Dickinson v Dodds 1876
Dodds told Dickinson's agent about revocation of offer so it was valid.
Household Fire & Carriage Accident Insurance Company v Grant 1879
Contract is entered when the letter of acceptance is posted even if it isn't received - postal rule.
Adams v Lindsell 1818
Wool sold to 3rd party by D as no reply by P by required date. Letter had been posted by this date though so contract binding - Postal rule
Byrne & Co v Van Tienhoven 1880
The postal rule only applies to acceptance and not revocation.
Barry v Davies 2000
Modern example of Warlow v Harrison - no reserved price, sell to the highest bidder.
McManus v Fortescue 1907
No contract results if the auctioneer accepts an offer lower than the reserved price.
Harvela Investments ltd v Royal Trust Company of Canada 1986
Idea of referential bids defeats the idea of competitive tenders.
Blackpool & Fylde Aeroclub v Blackpool Borough Council 1990
No obligation to accept tenders but implied obligation to consider them.
Fisher v Bell 1961
Lord Parker, 'the display of an article with a price on it in a shop window is merely an ITT'.
Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company 1897
Unilateral contract only require promise from one party. D had promised to pay the £100; P hadn't promised to contract Flu.
Lefkowitz v Great Minneapolis Surplus Store 1957
If nothing is left open for negotiation within the advert then it is an offer rather than an ITT.
Grainger v Gough 1896
If some terms are left open to debate (such as quantity) then an advert/catalogue is merely an ITT and not an offer.
Partridge v Crittenden 1968
Adverts are ITT rather than offers; selling bird in advert. Not convicted because not an offer.
Storer v Manchester City Council 1974
'if you will sign the agreement and return it to me, I will send you the agreement...' Wording implies that the deal is done upon acceptance. Clear offer only requires acceptance to be binding.
Gibson v Manchester City Council 1979
'may be prepared to sell the house to you'. No clear offer mirrored with clear acceptance; these are required for a contract.
Holwell Securities v Hughes 1974
Exception to the postal rule - if clause in contract states particular type of correspondence e.g. correspondence only exercisable by 'notice in writing'.
Entores v Miles Far East Company 1955
Postal rule doesn't apply to modern technology like Telex so contract was made in England where correspondence was received.
Mondial Shipping & Chartering v Astarte Shipping ltd 1995
Correspondence sent after working hours isn't classed as being valid until the next working day.
The Brimnes 1974
Correspondence is effective when received rather than read - negligence of staff in reading it late.
Felthouse v Bindley 1862
Acceptance is not regarded as being valid unless it is actually communicated.

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