Offer and Acceptance As the Basic Elements of Contract Law: Analytical Essay

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This matter is demanding an advice and solution whether the contract is appropriate for the requirement of contract law or not. It is requiring a discussion on offer and acceptance which are the basic elements of the contract law. Subsequently, we will define the conditions of offer and acceptance such as invitation to treat a contract, counter offers, battle of form, postal rule and scenarios about Mavis’s hacked email etc. We will talk about consideration and rule of revocation. Furthermore, it is necessary to discuss about the coming breaches, the remedies of breached agreements and the liability for the person who breaches. The agreement between Mr. Wilson and Polly was promised. Which was breached by Mr. Wilson.

The contract law is “It is the form of deals with interpretation and enforcement of contract between two or more parties”. (1) The parties are abiding to enforce the law or contract after its agreement. Contract law is a deal in which both parties must have competency and legal capacity to perform contract and agreement. They must have consent and same decisions for an absolute deal. It is mandatory that a contract must have enforcement elements to make it possible between offering party and the accepting party. According to contract law both parties must have capacity, they are over 18 and mentally fine to form a contract eligible. The stipulation of capacity is an essential element to make an absolute contract without vitiating factors such as mistakes in written agreement, verbal agreement, to avoid misrepresentation and person who misuse the power to enforce an agreement without consensus ad idem. A deal must have consideration to make it attainable. Both parties must have profit and loss in their product and money to file a case if there is breach in the contract. I believe that all the analysis in above is quite good to make an offer and acceptance eligible. Contract law is giving a crystal clear path to people to make their deals absolutely done having some favors and restrictions.

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As we know, Mr. Wilson has advertised an invitation of two paintings in a local newspaper on Monday. According to Halsbury’s law the invitation to treat is “It is a mere declaration of willingness to enter into negotiations; is not an offer, and cannot be accepted so as to form a binding contract”. (2) Here, It is clear that Mr. Wilson didn’t offered instead of invitation. Even he had mentioned that the price will be negotiable and validity till Friday. The price was unclear but offer must be clear. Hence, it is clear that Mr. Wilson advertised an invitation of painting not an offer. Professor Shahzeb declared that “An offer must be a clear, unequivocal and direct approach to second party to contract”. (3) So according to my own analysis the contrast between the offer and invitation is clear that offer is clear and invitation in unclear about its facets. Here in the case we can see that he mentioned that the price will be negotiable and it will be valid to Friday. Same scenario of invitation to treat was held in a famous case (Carlill v. Carbonic Smoke Ball Company) (1893). In this case a famous company held an invitation in newspaper that the person who will use their smoke ball for three times in a day for two weeks, he will absolutely recover his disease. But she didn’t recovered and filed a case in a trial court for the recovery of 100£. After the interpretation of this case the Principle was “Although the offer is made to all world the contract is made with that limited portion of the public who comes forward”. (4) Mr. Wilson’s case has also consideration process which made it possible to file in a court. The consideration is the term of contract law in which both parties’ give and take profits to each other for example A is selling a pen and for that pen, B is giving 5£. So this exercise is called consideration which was actually done in Wilson’s case.

Mevis responded immediately and offered on invitation that she will pay 200£ for both paintings. All the given conditions were crystal clear about his invitation in newspaper. The offer is “An offer is an open call to anyone wishing to accept the promise of the offeror and generally, is used for products and services”. (5) Surprisingly she sent an offer of 200£ on Tuesday. This is the course of action in which both parties offering and accepting negotiate to find their consent aims. Same course was happened in the famous case (STORER V MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL) (1974). The facets of this case are invitation and offer. The plaintiff sought on specific performance for land. The appeal was succeed and alleged to exchange corresponding’s between the offering and accepting party. Correspondingly Mr. Wilson invited people and contracted with Polly. In the words of Lord Denning MR:

“In contracts, you do not look into the actual intent in a man’s mind. You look at what he said and did. A contract is formed when there is, to all outward appearances, a contract”. (6)I believe that offering parties must have clear intentions and a proper way to revoke according to law which keep them away from breaches. So, it is clear that Mevis offered while being in restrictions of contract law here.

On Wednesday morning Mr. Wilson offered in counter that he will charge 200£ for each painting. He responded against Mevis’s offer. He also added a condition that she must apprise and inform Mr. Wilson about her decision before Friday to make a contract. The counter offer is that in which “Both parties, the offering and the accepting are not obligated to a contract and they can do negotiations more for the best”. (7) In this paragraph both parties are giving their offers to each other for an indistinguishable decision and trying to persuade to make a deal. They were negotiating for their best price in deal but they didn’t have same decision. But, we can see that both parties don’t have consent decision till now, in which they abide and form a contract. So, these people aren’t restricted here to make a deal. There is a famous case in which same principle was narrated (HYDE V WRENCH) (1840). This case is about the selling of farm. MR. Wrench was selling his farm to Hyde but refused after his acceptance on counter offer. Lord LangDale gave judgment on this case that was “when a counter offer is made, this supersedes and destroys the original offer”. (8) Hence, in this scenario initial offer given by Mevis is neglected and a new offer given by MR. Wilson is valid.

After these counter offers, he received another email from a Polly in which she was offering that she will pay 500£ for both paintings. When he received Polly’s email he had responded in a straight way that they will be yours. Professor Amrat says about offer is “Offer is a promise in which the party is enforceable to contract”. (9) An offer is clear and persisting to form a healthy contract. I believe that Polly’s offer was clear and enforceable to make a contract. She will held a case in resistance to Mr. Wilson, if he breaches it. Both parties were satisfied with each other and made a contract. The person who will breach the contract will be liable to their subject and punished. An offer can comes to its contract as seen in the case of (RAMEGATE VICTORIA HOTEL V MONTEFIORE) (1866) was about the acceptance and postal rule. And the rule settled in postal rule is “It states that acceptance must actually be communicated to the offeror by the offeree”. (10) As we know that they were dealing on email through internet so the postal rule is implemented and offer was accepted immediately by Wilson. The offer was accepted by postal rule and they contracted. Hence, both parties are restricted to each other.

On Wednesday evening he sent an email to Mevis with revocation that the paintings were no longer to sale. The proper principle of revocation is “Revocation in contract is the way to inform about the termination of offer to accepting party before their acceptance”. There was a famous case that lead to this principle (PAYNE V CAVE) (1789). This case sets a principle to revoke an offer.

Here Mr. Wilson informed her that the paintings were sold before her acceptance. It was about the rule of revocation in contract law. There was not contractual promises were held between offering and accepting parties because a contract can be done by offer and acceptance. They don’t have consent mind to contract and also she didn’t response on his counter offering mail. Her email was hacked due to which she didn’t received email. But postal rule is all about the response of accepting party. Furthermore if accepting party has sent a response than it is imperative for offeree to wait for a contract. If the offering party will use dichotomy process after contract than it will considered as a breach and he will be liable for it.

On Wednesday evening her email was hacked due to which she didn’t countered on Wilson’s email. But Wilson had sent a revocation email to inform her. His terminating process was about the law of revocation. He had terminated the offer and immediately sent an email to confirm his termination. He terminated her contract before acceptance. The postal rule is “A rule of contract law that makes an exception to the general rule that an acceptance is only created when communicated directly to the offeror”. (11) So, this is providing a proper sense of postal rule. As he sent an email before acceptance so he had done all about the contract law and its conditions of postal rule. A famous case have homogenous facts and a principle (ADAM V LINDSELL) (1818). In this case the defendant and plaintiff contracted on fleeces of wool. Plaintiff posted his acceptance on 5 September but it didn’t received but he sent again. It was reached on 9 September. But before the arriving day defendant sold his fleeces of wool to someone else and breached to contract. So, the principle of this case was given by Edward Law, 1st Baron Ellenborough that was “Firstly, a posted acceptance prevails over a previously posted withdrawal of the offer which had not yet reached the offeree when the acceptance was posted. Secondly, acceptance takes effect on posting even where it never reaches the offeror or only does so after delay. Finally, the contract is taken to have been made at the time of posting so as to take priority over another contract made after the original acceptance was posted”. (12) This principle is all about the postal rule and giving a straight direction an offering party to do a wait for accepting party’s response. So back in the Wilson case he attended postal rule. So the contract with Mevis was terminated. In the end he refused to both girls to contract.

So, in conclusion it is evidently proved that the contract between Wilson and Mevis was terminated and all about the law. He sent an email of confirmation that was proved by postal rule and case laws. If I talk about the contract between Wilson and Polly, it was clear and enforceable contract. All the conditions of contract law was fully filling the requirement of contract. It is breached by Wilson on which he can be scrutinized. Polly can file a case of her damages in court. But Wilson and Mevis were not liable in their scenario.


  3. Professor shahzaib – law teacher at Mcl(Manchester college of law, Lahore campus)
  4. Judgment by Lord Justice Lindley, Lord Justin bowen, Lord Justice Al smith (CARLILL V CARBONIC SMOKE) (1893)
  6. Lord Denning – [1974] 1 WLR 1403
  8. (Hyde v wrench) (1840) 49 ER 132
  9. Professor Amrat – Law teacher(Manchester college of law Lahore campus )
  10. (RAMGATE V MONTEFIORE) (1866)LR1 EX 109


  • (ADAM V LINDSELL)(1818)1B&ALD 681
  • (PAYNE V CAVE) (1789) 3TR 148
  • (STORER V MCC) [1974] 1 WLR 1403
  • (CARLILL V CARBONIC SMOKE)(1893) ‎EWCA Civ 1,, 1 QB 256
  • (HYDE V WRENCH)(1840) 49 ER 132


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