Unilateral contracts are common when one of the parties is offering a reward for the finding of a specific item. The person offering the reward would only have to make the payment if the other party found and returned the lost item. Katie could also safeguard her interests by the inclusion of conditions or warranties into the agreement. In Poussars v Spiers (1876)5 the court concluded that the obligation to perform was a condition of the contract and as Poussard was unable to perform the respondent was entitled to repudiate the contract.
In Bettini v Gye (1876)6 the court held that a breach of warranty had occurred when the plaintiff failed to arrive for rehearsals as promised. The respondent was not entitled to repudiate the contract but was entitled to compensation for the breach of the warranty given by the plaintiff in which he agreed to arrive in London 6 days before the concert for the rehearsals. It is often easier for the courts to determine the intention of the parties if the terms of the contract are in written form7.
Oral agreements can be difficult to enforce, as the party relying on the oral agreement has to prove that such an agreement was in fact made8. It might also be advisable for Katie to hire an architect or surveyor before undertaking the work, as they would be able to advise on the necessary work required. Case 2 In contract law an offer is deemed to have been made when that offer has been communicated to the other party. This means that if the offeror offers to sell an item either verbally or in writing, the person receiving the offer is entitled to accept the offer and enter into a contract with the offeror.
Until the offer has been accepted and consideration has been paid the contract will not be regarded as binding on the parties. If an offer is communicated in writing, and includes a deadline by which acceptance must be communicated, the offer remains valid until the deadline date has expired. The courts have recognised the difficulties in ascertaining the validity of an acceptance of an offer in relation to the communication of that acceptance.
This was first recognised in Adams v Lindsell9 in which the court was asked to decided when a contract is deemed to have been formed if acceptance is communicated by post. This case posed difficulties due to postal delays and the parties not being simultaneously aware of the communications. In Adams the court stated “Where the circumstances are such that it must have been within the contemplation of the parties that, according to the ordinary usages of mankind, the post might be used as a means of communicating the acceptance of an offer, the acceptance is complete as soon as it is posted10”.
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