04_Acceptance - Contracts 01 Acceptance PART IV ACCEPTANCE...

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Contracts 01 – Acceptance P ART IV A CCEPTANCE I E LEMENTS A Definition Definition: acceptance is an unqualified assent to the terms of an offer. Any variation is a counter-offer, and constitutes rejection of the first. B Approaches There are two possible approaches to determining whether an offer has been accepted. Continuing tension between these views is exhibited by contemporary case law: 1 Objective approach Determined by the outward manifestation of intention in the conduct of the parties 2 Subjective approach Look to the presence of actual consent by each party The favoured approach is objective ( Taylor v Johnson ). Exam note: develop an opinion about the consistency of each approach with the tenets of contractual theory. Be prepared to evaluate each. C Reliance upon the Offer Unless a person performs the conditions of an offer in reliance upon it, they do not accept that offer and the offeror is not bound in contract. Crown v Clarke: Facts Clarke was involved in the murder of two policeman A reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of the persons who committed the murder It was also announced that a pardon would be extended to any accomplice who provided information leading to arrest Clarke was arrested for murder; he was aware of the reward and the pardon, and he made a statement that led to the conviction of the murders Clarke received his pardon, but claimed to be entitled to the reward Issue © Jaani Riordan 2004 Page 1 of 8 http://www.jaani.net/
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Contracts 01 – Acceptance Did Clarke provide the information with the intention of clearing his name or receiving the reward? Note that Clarke admitted that he had seen the reward notice, but that he made the statement to the police in order to clear his name Reasoning Clarke never accepted or intended to accept the offer for the reward Ordinarily, intention is determined objectively However, a unilateral contract of this type is an exception to the general rule o The outcome would be the same if objective: a reasonable person in the position of the plaintiff would be most concerned about clearing his name, so their intent would not be to accept the offer On the facts, Clarke’s admission in evidence reduces uncertainty about his intentions Estoppel could not be relied upon, because there was no reliance and no detriment Decision The act alleged to be acceptance must be tied to the offer Because Clarke’s conduct was not related to the offer, it could not constitute valid acceptance II M ETHOD OF A CCEPTANCE A General Rule A person who makes can offer can stipulate a particular method of acceptance. Any subsequent acceptance must comply with such requirements in order to be effective. However, acceptance cannot be forced upon the offeree; eg, by stating that unless the offeror
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04_Acceptance - Contracts 01 Acceptance PART IV ACCEPTANCE...

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