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Brogden v Metropolitan Railway

[1877] 2 App Cas 666

Case summary last updated at 03/01/2020 14:32 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Brogden v Metropolitan Railway

P had been supplied by D with coal for a while and they decided to draw up a contract: P’s agent drew up a draft agreement and delivered it to D. D filled in parts left blank e.g. who was to arbitrate etc and returned the document to P who filed it and did nothing more. D delivered coal and p paid for it within the terms of the document and when disputes arose, both parties’ correspondence mentioned a “contract”. D later claimed that he wasn’t bound by the document since it was not a contract. HL held that the D’s amended agreement document was a counter offer and the conduct of P and reliance on he terms was an acceptance. Lord Hatherly says that contract came into force when the new invoice was paid at the new price set out in the document. Lord Blackburn asserts that when “both parties have acted upon that draft and treated it as binding, they will be bound by it.” The acceptance has to be communicated or shown through conduct: it cannot be merely “in your own mind” 

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