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Law Notes Contract Law Notes

Contract Law Problem Question Summary Notes

Updated Contract Law Problem Question Summary Notes

Contract Law Notes

Contract Law

Approximately 1511 pages

Contract law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB contract law cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These were the best Contract Law notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through dozens of LLB samples from outstanding law students with the highest...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Contract Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

A Brief Overview


    • 4 elements

      • Offer and acceptance

      • Intention to create legal relations (ICLR)

      • Consideration

    • Problems with creation of contract

      • Is there a LACK OF CERTAINTY?

      • PRIVITY: Are the players attempting to give RIGHTS TO THIRD PARTIES?





          • Are the things said or done TERMS or MERE REPRESENTATIONS?

          • Successfully INCORPORATED into the contract?


          • UCTA 1977

          • CRA 2015

          • Common law

      • INTERPRETATION of the term


      • Implied in fact

      • Implied at law


    • Mistake

    • Misrepresentation

    • Duress

    • Undue influence

    • Unconscionability

    • Frustration and Force Majeure

OUTLINE for formation


    • Has an offer been made?

      • Advertisements

      • Displays for goods for sale in a shop

      • Tenders

      • Auctions

    • Termination of offer

  • ACCEPTANCE – contentious areas

    • Postal rule

    • Electronic communication

    • Acceptance by silence

    • Battle of the forms


    • Past consideration not good consideration

    • Consideration moves from promisor (privity problem)

    • Legally sufficient consideration

      • Performance of an existing duty

        • Statutory duty

        • Contractual duty to a third party

      • VARIATIONS: Increasing vs decreasing pacts

    • Doctrine of P.E.

      • When does it apply?

        • Existing debts?

      • How does it operate?

        • 3 elements in High Trees

      • What are its EFFECTS?

        • Suspensory or extinctive?


    • Domestic/social context

    • Commercial context

    • ‘in-between’ contexts

Offer and Acceptance


Definition: An offer is an expression of willingness to contract on specified terms, made with the intention that it is to become binding as soon as it is accepted by the person to whom it is addressed (Treitel)

General OBJECTIVE TEST: Does a person in the position of B (having the knowledge of the relevant circumstances which B had), acting reasonably, would understand that A was making a proposal to which he intended to be bound in the event of an unequivocal acceptance: Crest Nicholson v. Akaria [2010]

  • Evidence of the objective nature of the test – Maple Leaf Macro Volatility Master Fund v Rouvroy [2009] CA - in this case, the fact that BOTH parties subjectively did not intend the creation of a contract was not material

  • Objective principle:

    • Gives effect to REASONABLE interpretation of the language and not fanciful or unrealistic interpretations - eg Thake v Maurice [1986] HC (It was lunacy for claimant to rely on doctor’s assurance that the vasectomy was “irreversible” to be read as “irreversible by God or man”. That it was reasonable to know that “medicine is not an exact science” and that the doctor’s reassurance was “mere therapeutic comfort”)

    • It must be possible to work out what the apparent intent of A was - Raffles v Wichelhaus (1864), the parties agreed a sale of bales of cotton, to be delivered from Bombay on the Peerless, two Peerless, ambiguous, no contract

    • It must not be B’s fault that A appeared to agree to something that he did not actually intend to - Scriven Brothers [1913] HC (auction, misleading display of bale and hay, no contract)

Differentiating between Offers and Invitations to Treat (ITT) (ie has an offer been made)

1. Goods on display and advertisements

GENERAL RULE: The display of goods for sale (Fisher v Bell [1961] – CA, sale of a flick knife policeman contented this contravened some Act, where goods display with a price label, such a display is treated as an ITT. Offer is made by customer when presents item at the till. Acceptance occurs when cashier takes payment) and advertisements (Partridge v Crittenden [1968] HC, where advertisement of bird in newspaper WITH PRICE, therefore doesn’t breach protection of wildlife act) constitute ITT

  • EXCEPTION: Rule can be displaced if, applying the objective test above, there is an intention to be bound by the terms:

    • E.g. Advertisements: Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball where the intention was evinced by the fact that the advert said that 1000 pounds had been deposited with the bank, indicating the seriousness of their willingness to pay the money

    • Chitty (2012) notes that courts are less willing to hold that it was an offer in bilateral contracts, since this sort of advertisement is intended to lead to further bargaining

2. Tenders

NOTE about definition -> SEALED BIDS vs Auctions – the former is a tender since it generally allows only ONE bid to be made (so sealed bids = tenders)

GENERAL rule: constitutes only ITT: Spencer v Harding [1870]

  • EXCEPTION: Displaced if appears objectively that maker of the statement intended to make an offer

    • E.g. Sealed bid context: a legal obligation to award the contract to the bidder with the highest bid

  • COMPLICATION #1: In LIMITED CIRCUMSTANCES, a collateral offer to consider bids properly submitted might be created: Blackpool Aero Club v Blackpool B. C (tenderer successfully sued auctioner for not considering bid as tender submitted tender by hand 1 hour before the deadline and the council’s janitor failed to clear the letter box the next day. That tender was struck out)

    • Obligations upon the invitor that were minimum standards of fair dealing:

  1. The invitor must ‘consider’ each valid tender

  2. The invitor must ignore invalid tenders eg Fairclough Building v Port Talbot BC (1992) CA held that invitor had not acted wrongly when refusing to consider a tender because a member of the tender committee was married to a director of the relevant tendering company

  3. The invitor must not award the contract ahead of the deadline for submission of tenders

    • NOTE reasons given for creation of the collateral offer:

      • Tender addressed to a small number of interested parties

      • Procedure was “clear, orderly and familiar”

      • Outcome consistent with the “assumptions of commercial parties”

  • COMPLICATION #2: A referential bid will generally be invalid (because of practice problem – of what if more than...

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