Trying to find a case in support of specific rule (Contract Law)Watch
Rejection Must Be Communicated
'...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.'
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.