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THE CONCEPT OF ACCEPTANCE- LAW OF CONTRACT

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...   Grand Master - ,  10:48 am On 10 Oct 2017

WHAT IS ACCEPTANCE?

Acceptance is the expression of assent to the terms of a contract.

MODE OF ACCEPTANCE

Where a particular mode of acceptance is required by the offeror (e.g by post, by handshake, by post etc) acceptance is not valid except it is made by that mode. If no mode is prescribed, an offer may be accepted by the mode the offer was made or by any other mode that reasonable in the circumstance.

If for example, A makes an offer by phone, and B's acceptance was made by post; B may not be bound by the acceptance as he should use an equally fast or faster method to make his acceptance.

1. ACCEPTANCE AND COUNTER OFFERS: An offeree can not vary the terms of an offer, or introduce a new term, he must accept it as communicated to him or he would be making a counter offer not an acceptance. see Hyde v Wrench [1840] EWHC Ch J90.

2. SILENCE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ACCEPTANCE: The rationnale behind this is that the law cannot impose on the offeree the burden and cost of rejecting an offer he has no intention to accept. Even where it is expressly stated in the offer that 'if I hear no more from you, I will take it that you have accepted my offer' the offeree's silence would still not amount to an acceptance. See Felthouse v Bindley (1862) EWHC CP J 35. There are however certain exceptions where silence would amount to acceptance.

3. CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE: An acceptance must not be subject to any condition. If it is subject to a condition it is not valid until the condition is fulfilled. An example of the this is an acceptance made 'subject to contract'. See Winn v. Bull (1877) 7 Ch D 29, 47 LJ Ch 139, U.B.A. Ltd. v. Tejumola & Sons Ltd (1988) NWLR (Pt.79)662

4. CROSS OFFERS: This is a simultaneous offer made by two parties with similar terms which cross at post; it does not amount to a valid acceptance of any of the two offers. For instance, A offers to sell his car to B for $50 and B offers to buy A's car for $50 and both offers cross at post, neither of the two offers would amount to an acceptance. See Tinn v Hoffman (1873) 29 LT 271.

5. ACCEPTANCE IN IGNORANCE OF OFFER: Based on the principle of consensus ad idem, which connotes that there is no valid contract except there is a meeting of minds of both the offeree and offeror. A person can therefore not accept an offer he is ignorant of. See FITCH v. SNEDAKER 38 N.Y. 248, 250 (N.Y. 1868).


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