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Answering a law essay question

Any tips on writing a IPAC question?What is the main issue and cases I can use to write into?Sam wanted to sell his car so that he could buy a new one, Colin heard about this and was interested to purchase the car, so he sent Sam an email saying,
hi there this looks liek a contract law question, you need to identify t(Original post by watermelon pie)Any tips on writing a IPAC question? What is the main issue and cases I can use to write into? Sam wanted to sell his car so that he could buy a new one, Colin heard about this and was interested to purchase the car, so he sent Sam an email saying,

hi there, this looks like a contract law question, you need to identify whether the statement that Sam wanted to sell his car is an offer in law or just a statement of intent, and then whether Colins email is an acceptance. Once an offer is accepted we have the basis of a legally binding contract. Some useful info below: (if you have 1 minutes sapre - please could you complete my questionnaire on applying to uni?

What is a contract?

Most contracts take the form of an agreement in that each of the parties agrees to accept the promise of the other in return for the promise made by that first party.
Having decided what a Contract is, we’d probably better look at how one is formed. Remember those 4 elements needed to form a contract.
intention to create legal relations and

Offer and acceptance.

The difference between a contract and other types of agreement:
A contract can be defined as an agreement which legally binds the parties. This means the agreement can be enforced by taking legal action, so that, for example if one of the parties breaks their side of the agreement the other party can sue them for breach of contract.

In order for the contract to be valid and enforceable by the law, there are four main elements which must be present. These are:-
Intention to create legal relations

Provided all of the above are present, a contract will be made, whether the agreement is made:-
Verbally (i.e. things said between the parties);
In writing (some contracts must be in writing eg sale/purchase of house sometimes called exchange of contracts);
By the conduct of the parties (e.g. nothing is said or done but where customer takes goods off supermarket shelf, places them on counter, cashier rings them through till, and customer hands over money for goods).

Offer and Acceptance:

Offer + Acceptance =

In order for there to be a legally binding contract, there must be an agreement between the parties. To decide if an agreement has been reached, the court will look to see if one party has made an offer and the other party has accepted that offer.

Offeror = person making the offer
Offeree = person receiving the offer.

As stated above, with most contracts, it is possible for the offer and acceptance to be made verbally, in writing or simply by the conduct of the parties.• An offer is a definite promise to be bound by specific terms
An offer can be made to a group of people i.e. to the world at large as in the case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co [1893]
An offer must be made properly if it is to form a binding contract
(See Harvey v Facey [1893])
Statements of intent: e.g. advertising that an event e.g. an auction will take place is not an offer to sell. Potential buyers therefore cannot sue if the auction does not take place e.g. Harris v Nickerson [1873]
Invitation to treat: This can be defined as an indication that someone is prepared to receive offers with the view to forming a binding contract. It is not an offer in itself. There are four types of invitation to treat. These are auction sales, advertisements, exhibition of goods for sale and an invitation for tenders. (See case notes for details).
Acceptance can be defined as an unqualified agreement to the terms of the offer it must be unconditional agreement to the terms of the offer.
Acceptance may be by words expressed or by action. It can also be implied from conduct (see Brogden v Metropolitan Railway Co [1877]
Silence as acceptance: there must be some act by the person accepting the offer e.g. Felthouse v Bindley [1862].
Unsolicited goods: goods which are sent or services provided to a person who did not ask for them, are not deemed to be accepted just because the person does not return them to the sender. His silence is not acceptance of the goods, even if the sender includes a statement stating he accepts the goods unless he pays for them or rejects them. (UNSOLICITED GOODS AND SERVICES ACT 1971).
Counter offer: acceptance must be strict agreement to the terms of the offer. Acceptance which introduces any new terms is a counter offer. If a counter offer is made, the original offeror may accept it, but if he rejects it, his original offer is no longer valid, so can no longer be accepted e.g. Hyde v Wrench [1840]
Acceptance subject to contract: this means the offeree agrees to the terms of the offer but that the parties should agree on a formal contract e.g. contract for the sale of a property is always made subject to contract. This gives the buyer protection i.e. time to investigate title and carry out surveys.
Letters of intent: this can be defined as being where one party gives a strong indication to the other party he is likely to place a contract with him.
Acceptance of a tender: a person who makes a tender is making an offer to the person who advertised the contract as being available e.g. tender to build new college, is an offer which can be accepted.

Types of acceptance:-
Postal rule
Prescribed Mode of Communication

Waiver of communicating acceptance:
The offeror may dispense with need for acceptance to be communicated to him e.g. Carlill case, it was held it was sufficient for Mrs C to act on the offer without notifying her acceptance of it.

Prescribed mode of communication:
The person making the offer may require acceptance to be given in certain way. If he doesn’t then the courts will assume that communication by equally valid means will amount to proper acceptance of the offer e.g. Yates Building Co v RJ Pulleyn & Sons ( York) [1975].
Similarly in Tinn V Hoffman 1873 in which it was requested that acceptance be by return of post it was said by the court that any method that would be quicker than by return of post would also be sufficient.

The postal rule:
The offeror may say/imply he expects acceptance to be by letter sent through the post. The postal rule states that where the use of the post is within the contemplation of both parties, acceptance is complete as soon as the letter is posted.
See Adams V Lindsell 1818.

Instant methods of communication:
When an acceptance is made by an instant mode of communication the postal rule will not apply. This is because the offeror will know instantly if they have not managed to communicate with the offeree, and if not can try again. See Entores V Miles Far East Corporation 1955.This approach was later approved by the HOL in Brinkibon v Stahag Stahl GmbH 1983.

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