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Intended to give students an illustration of the

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intended to give students an illustration of the content and style of answer expected. The problem is a fairly simple one. The answer does not raise all possible issues. Nor is it perfect. Question 1. Miss Flower (‘F’) does not want to pay for the work done to her fence. Accordingly she will want to show that there is no contract existing between her and Bloggs (‘B’). This will depend on the rules relating to contract formation. Is there an agreement? The first question in assessing the existence of a contract in relation to the fence is whether the parties have reached agreement. This is usually analysed according to the rules of offer and acceptance. F’s initial inquiry to B about fixing the fence is unlikely to be an offer. Important issues such as the price remain to be determined. The statement is more likely to be the first stage in negotiations. B’s response identifies the price. B will argue the statement is an offer which F accepted. F may perhaps suggest the statement was only a further step in negotiations because there were still other issues for the parties to determine (timing, the extent of the work etc.). At any rate, a valid acceptance must correspond to the offer. F can argue that, by introducing a further concern, the quality of the work, F implicitly rejected any offer by B. B’s response to this concern, offering to do the work on approval, seems to be a new offer or a counter offer. F will argue that she never accepted this offer. Although F said the deal sounded good, F indicated she was not at that time accepting it. F said she would think about the offer. B will argue that F’s acceptance can be inferred from her standing by and watching him begin work. Normally silence will not constitute acceptance (see for example Felthouse v Bindley where the nephew’s silence in response to the uncle’s offer meant that there was no contract for sale concluded). In this case B will argue that F has done more than simply stay silent. B will argue that F has engaged in positive conduct suggesting an acceptance.
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