The English contract Offer and Acceptance

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The English contract Offer and Acceptance General principles There are three basic essentials to the creation of contract which will be recognised and enforced by the courts. These are: contractual intention, agreement and consideration. The Definition of Offer. This is an expression of willingness to contract made with the intention (actual or apparent) that it shall become binding on the offeror as soon as the person to whom it is addressed accepts it. An offer can be made to one person or a group of persons or to the world at large. The offeror is bound to fulfil the terms of his offer once it is accepted. The offer may be made in writing, by words or conduct. Unilateral – some offers are purely one sided, made without the offeror’s having any idea whether they will ever be taken up and accepted, and thereby be transformed into a contract. For example when an advertisement where a person is rewarding another one if he finds his pet (which was lost). In this case the person who is making such an offer is not sure whether this offer will be ever accepted. Bilateral – The majority of offers are Bilateral. While it is not always true, most people make an offer to one named offeree or a small group of parties. Most contracts are made with both parties present on a face-to-face basis. Invitation to treat An invitation to treat made by one party to another is not an offer. An invitation to treat is made at a preliminary stage in the making of an agreement, where one party seeks to ascertain whether the other would be willing to enter into a contract and, if so, upon what terms. To distinguish between an offer and an invitation to treat it is necessary to look at the intention of the person making it. It is not an offer unless it was made with the intention that it should be binding as soon as the person to whom it was addressed communicates hi assent. Some examples of invitations to treat are: Display of goods in shops  Advertisement (which can be of bilateral transaction or unilateral contract)  Ticket cases  Auction sales  Tenders  Subject to contract Duration and termination of offer An offer continues in existence, capable of acceptance until it is brought to an end. It occurs in six ways  Revocation  Rejection by the offeree  Lapse of time  Occurrence of a terminating conditions

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