The Law of Contract

An offer is a promise that the person making the offer (known as the offeror) is prepared to legally bound upon specified terms. It is susceptible to acceptance by the offeree at any time, unless it is revoked by the offeror (5). There are a number of situation which at first seemed to appear as an offer, but by the courts they were ruled as they are not "offers" e. g. invitation to treat, declarations of intent, the supply of information and etc. (3). When the offer is made there an arising question, how long does it remain to be opened?

Bearing in mind, that the primary purpose of an offer id some other should accept, the offer stops as soon as it was taken over by acceptance. Since an offer is made there are several situations, which may appear between "offer" and "acceptance": (a) An offeror can withdraw his offer at any time before it was managed to be accepted. It should be done over the mail, at least, and should explain the reasons "why" was taken this kind of decision Byrne v Van Tienhoven (1880). (b) Once the rejection took place an offer is terminated and can offeree can return back on the earlier date and accept the offer.

(c) An offer can lap through the time if the time is not stated and it is a reasonable time. (d) An offer which fails to complete any of conditions, which are made. (e) Death of the offeror. The offer cannot be accepted because there is no anyone, who can fulfil its promises. An acceptance is an assent to all the terms of an offer (5). Moreover it is obligatory that the acceptance has to fit offers. The acceptance of the offer can be either oral or writing. Especially there is a general rule with regard to postal communications, with the help of which the acceptance is made.

"Posted" means put into the control of the Post Office, or one of its employees authorised to receive letters (3). Posting does not take place as the time when a letter is handed to an employee of the Post Office, who supposes to deliver letters (Re London and Northern Bank (1900)). There are some other aspects of Acceptance, which are fairly important. Firstly, the silence cannot be taken as a acceptance (Felthouse v Bindley (1862)). Secondly, the acceptance must usually be made in the same way as the offer (Eliason v Henshaw (1819)). And finally, the offeror can waive acceptance.

Such a waiver may be express or may be inferred from the circumstances, e. g. Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. (1983). English law will not enforce a simple contract unless it is supported by a valuable consideration (3). What means that everything should be exchange for "anything of value". The supply of goods; the performance of a service; exercising forbearance from the performance of an act. An example of consideration can be: after A gave a promise to B to repair his roof in three days, B promised to A to pay 500 when the work will be completed. This act can be also called executory consideration.

Consideration can have two types. Executory consideration is where two parties give promises to perform some acts with mutual advantage in future (cash on delivery). Every consideration is governed by several rules, which have to be satisfied before taking place. This law rule prevents one party from enforcing a contract unless he or she has contributed consideration. The person who has given himself a consideration can only bring a breach of the contact. Someone who is a stranger to a contact cannot take any advantage of a contact, even if it has been made for his benefit.

This rule is very similar to the doctrine of the privacy of the contact Tweddle v Atkinson (1861). Every consideration must be of material value, capable of assessment in financial terms. It is easier to find out financial value of the consideration in the situations where money, property, land of goods is involved. Every legal right has it financial value. Sometimes two parties make an agreement were they discuss the situation in which one side has to pay the compensation to the other one. Usually both sides agree the compensation and in such situations the consideration for the compensation is a promise not to take the case to the court.

Every consideration has the most important rule that it has to follow-consideration must not be past; past considerations are not promises at all.


1. Adams, A. (2003) Law of Business Studies, (3rd Edition) Pearson Education 2. Introduction to English Law (could find this book in the library once again to check the details) 3. Keenan, D. (2001) Smith and Keenan's Law, (13th Edition) Pearson Education 4. Osborn's (1993) Law Dictionary Edited by Leslie Rutherford and Shelia Bone, (8th Edition) Sweet & Maxwell 5. Treitel, G. (1999) The Law of Contract, (10th Edition) Sweet & Maxwell.