Trying to find a case in support of specific rule (Contract Law)

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eistaa
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#1
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
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Please help! I have been looking all day now and with no luck. I want to find a case in support of this extract from Chitty on Contracts, 31st Ed, Volume 1 - General Principles, Part 2 - Formaiton of Contract, Chapter 2 - The Agreement, Section 4 - Termination of the Offer, Sub-section (b) - Rejection

Rejection Must Be Communicated

2-095


'...If, however, the rejection has reached the offeror, it is submitted that he would not be bound by an acceptance posted after the rejection and also reaching him after the rejection. To apply the “posted acceptance” rule here merely because at the time of posting the rejection had not reached the offeror could expose him to hardship particularly where he had acted on the rejection, e.g. by disposing of the subject-matter elsewhere. An offeree who has posted a rejection and then wishes, after all, to accept the offer should ensure that the subsequently posted acceptance comes to the notice of the offeror before the latter has received the rejection.'
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If Chitty doesn't cite a case there probably isn't one. I don't have a copy to hand, but the fact that it states 'it is submitted' usually means there isn't a clear case. I can't really imagine the 'acceptor' in that situation would seriously try to sue anyway!

Something that strikes me as a possibility is that if the offeror has been 'exposed to hardship', ie he has acted to his detriment based on the rejection, then he would be able to plead some form of estoppel if sued on the contract Another, less likely possibility is that if the offer was accepted at the time the acceptance was posted then the later rejection might be an anticipatory breach of contract? Whatever the right answer it is surely obvious that the 'acceptor' could not be allowed to succeed.
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eistaa
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Thank you for the quick reply, unfortunately Chitty doesn't cite any cases and I was afraid that there might not be any. It is for a moot problem and I don't feel comfortable basing my entire submission just on his words I've been reading cases all day with the hope of maybe at least use some as pointers as to how this rule was derived. I also have not seen this rule so far in any other book or source, only Chitty. Unfortunately no estoppel here either. Even though the right answer is obvious I need to be able to back it up. I am going to give you the timeline if this helps to shed clarity.

A makes offer - B makes counter offer (which the appellant will try to argue it was an enquiry) - B changes his mind and sends acceptance - A receives counter offer and sells the object to a third party - A receives purported acceptance and sends a letter in reply saying the object is sold - B sues

I have given my moot partner the easier task of arguing the counter offer/enquiry issue and am really struggling with my submission. Unfortunately the timeline and the postal rule also exclude application of Dickinson v Dodds. I've gone through God knows how many scenarios and so far not happy with any of them. I was really counting on Chitty.
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(Original post by eistaa)
Thank you for the quick reply, unfortunately Chitty doesn't cite any cases and I was afraid that there might not be any. It is for a moot problem and I don't feel comfortable basing my entire submission just on his words I've been reading cases all day with the hope of maybe at least use some as pointers as to how this rule was derived. I also have not seen this rule so far in any other book or source, only Chitty. Unfortunately no estoppel here either.
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Why do you dismiss estoppel so quickly? The counter offer made by B - when received by A - is an implied representation of fact that B has not already accepted the offer. In fact, B had already accepted the offer so the representation was false. A then acts on the false representation to his detriment. If B tries to sue for breach of contract. To do so, he will need to plead the fact that he had accepted the offer, which is the very fact that he represented was not the case. There ought to be an estoppel by representation in those circumstances (I concede that there is probably no promissory estoppel).

I have decided that the anticipatory breach argument can't work. It was based on the point that if B accepts an offer at 9am, and then purports to make a counter-offer at 10am, that might be an anticipatory breach. But it probably isn't - B isn't threatening not to perform, he is at worst mistaken about the legal position.

Interesting problem, anyway!
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eistaa
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From what I have read about estoppel it seems to not be applicable to this case. In all honesty I have not read much on it. I haven't even studied contract law yet, so all this is completely new to me. On the plus side, when we start studying it, I would have already covered a big chunk of it

I will read a bit more about estoppel. In the mean time if any other ideas spring to your mind, please share. I have to finalise my skeleton argument by Monday 9 am. and so far Chitty is my strongest argument, but with no authorities to support it.
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eistaa
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After a careful read of your last post I think that either I have not made it very clear, or you have misunderstood the timeline and situation. So to clarify a bit more, basically B makes a counter offer, asking of lower price, but the next day he immediately sends a letter, saying that he changed his mind and he accepts the full asking price. When he sends the letter of purported acceptance, the counteroffer was still not received by A. A receives the counter offer, at that time the 'acceptance' travels to him, acts on it and a day later receives the 'acceptance'.

The more I think about it, the more I agree with you about the estoppel, but really know nothing on the subject. Back to the books.
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