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Stevenson v McLean

[1880] 5 QBD 346

Case summary last updated at 03/01/2020 15:00 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Stevenson v McLean

 D offered to sell P iron for a certain sum. P asked D if he “would accept [the sum D proposed] for payment over two months or, if not, what was the longest limit you would give?” D then sold the iron to a 3rd party. P, having heard nothing from D and later wrote to him deciding to take up the original offer. The court held that D’s correspondence was a request for further information and NOT a counter offer, so that this case was distinct from Hyde v Wrench. The offer was still valid and therefore P was entitled to take it up. The distinction between query and conter-offer might be hard to sustain: supposing P had written a letter saying “would you accept payment over 2 months?” This could be seen as either. In this case the phrase “if not” would suggest that P is not necessarily asking D to change his position, whereas in the example I give it could be construed that way- hard to determine…The court said that the question should have been answered (doesn’t say whether legally or morally) and that D still had to communicate a revocation to be free from the original offer. 

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