This lecture presentation analyses a problem question on agreement in contract.
The question: “Edwina, who is in the process of writing a family biography, loses three bundles of love letters between her great aunt and a high profile person in public life, which she needs to refer to in her book.
On Tuesday, Edwina places an advertisement in the Westminster Bugle, stating that she will pay a reward of £250 for the return of each of the bundles.
Norma, who finds one bundle of the letters in the back of a taxi, hands it in to a local police station, in ignorance of the reward.
John, finds another bundle in a bar in Soho. In response to the advertisement, John telephones Edwina on Wednesday and says he wants £500 for them. Edwina refuses, but says she would pay £400 for them. She adds that he must telephone her to let her know by Saturday.
On Friday, John telephones Edwina, who is away for the weekend, and leaves a message on her answering machine saying he will let her have the letters for £400.
Unfortunately, the message is erased, unheard, by Edwina’s grandson.
John also sends an email message agreeing to the £400, but Edwina’s server fails to deliver the message until Sunday morning.
The final bundle is found by Ray the following Wednesday, who takes it to the address stated in the advertisement. Edwina refuses to pay Ray any money saying that she has now abandoned the project and instead intends writing a novel. She tells him that a cancellation of her previous advertisement in the Westminster Bugle was published the day before.
Advise Edwina of any claims that may be brought against her for breach of contract by Norma, John and Ray.”
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Issues covered include: Offers: Offers and invitations to treat contrasted; bi-lateral and unilateral offers; counter-offers; lapse of offer; revocation. Acceptance: modes of acceptance; postal rule; acceptance of unilateral offers.
Lecturer: Norman Baird
Duration of lecture: 15 minutes