A more recent version of these What Are The Requirements Of An Offer And An Acceptance notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.
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Offers What is an offer?
Offer is o Manifestation of offeror's willingness
? to be bound by terms proposed to the offeree
as soon as the offeree accepts BUT a party can deny the existence of a valid contract by saying offer was invalid because:
1. It was mistakenly made
A party can only escape if the offer, taken from the viewpoint of an objective observer, o was one which is was reasonable to say the offeror meant X and not Y as he actually said.
Q = Objectivity from whose point of view?
o Howarth: three points of view
? Detached Objectivity
Viewpoint of "fly on the wall"
Separate from either contracting parties o Objections:
? Chen Wishart: does not meet the justification for objectivity (e.g. protect promises reasonable expectations)
? Spencer: Only acceptable for law to force an agreement on party in rare circumstances
Surely unacceptable to force agreement neither wants on both parties.
? "Promisor" objectivity
What a reasonable and honest promisor would perceive.
? "Promisee" objectivity
What a reasonable and honest promisee would perceive. o Voster: problem with these classifications is that in bilateral contracts, both parties take on roles on promisor and promisee o Chen-Wishart:
? Better idea is "actor objectivity" and "observer objectivity"
And hold that each party's actions should be understood to the standard of what the reasonable and honest observer would perceive them to be.
Q = What evidence should be taken into account?
o Two types can contrasted
? Skeleton Objectivity
Limits conduct that counts and prioritises them in strict hierarchy of value o Signed final writing in a contractual document o Unsigned final writing in contractual document o Other writing or speech o Non verbal conduct (nod, wink, contractual performance) o Silence of Omissions
? Silence generally not held to be acceptance, even if intended.
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