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Are goods on a shelf an invitation to treat?

  • Goods on a shelf are construed as an invitation to treat.
  • The authority for this is Boots v Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain where goods in a self-service shop were construed as an invitation to treat which is preceded by an offer made by ther person who wishes to purchase.
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Why are advertisements an invitation to treat?

  • Advertisements must be an invitation to treat or a party advertising their goods could end up bound by endless numbers of contracts for which they may not have enough goods.
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Is a catalogue/price list an invitation to treat?

  • A catalogue/price list is usually construed as an invitation to treat - it is merely providing information about products which parties can then offer to buy.
  • The authority is Grainger and Sons v Gough.
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  • An advertisement of an auction is an invitation to treat as held in Harris v Nickerson.
  • An auction itself is an invitation to treat. The bids are the offers which are accepted when the auctioneer lets the hammer fall. The authority is British Car Auctions v Wright.
  • Sale of Goods Act 1979 also makes provisions for auctions. The bidding is concluded when the hammer falls. Each item in an auction is considered to be treated as seperate contract.
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An advert is usually construed as an invitation to

  • The case of Partridge v Crittenden demonstrates this. An advertisement for bramblefinches for sale was not an offer but an invitation to treat.
  • The exception is the offer of a reward as in Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company. In this case, the advert was a unilateral offer which was accepted when the party contracted flu even though they had used the smoke ball.
  • The case of Williams v Cawardine can also be used to demonstrate how an advert can in fact be a unilateral offer.
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Websites are normally construed as invitations to

  • As established in the case of (Singapore).
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  • An offer can be revoked at any time before acceptance. This is so even if the offeror has stated that it wil be open for a certain period and wishes to revoke it before this has expired. (Routledge v Grant).
  • Revocation must be communicated to the offeree. (Byrne v Van Tienhoven).
  • Revocation can be made by a third party - as long as both parties deem this person to be reliable. (Dickinson v Dodds).
  • Revocation should be made in the same way as the offer. (Shuey v US).
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Is a vending machine an offer or an invitation to

  • A vending machine is normally construed as an invitation to treat because it not possible to negotiate with one.
  • This was established in the case of Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking where it was held that offer and acceptance took place at the point of using the ticket machine.
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Why is the test of intention objective?

  • The test is objective because this means that parties know how their behaviour will be interpreted by the courts.
  • This prevents parties from potentially falsifying their intention in order to achieve a favourable outcome for themselves.
  • It is extremely impractical to try and discern what was actually happening in a party's mind.
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Are goods in a shop window an invitation to treat?

  • Goods in a shop window are construed as an invitation to treat.
  • This was affirmed in the case of Fisher v Bell where the shopkeeper was not guilty of 'offering for sale a flick knife' as it was in fact an invitation to treat.
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What is a bilateral contract?

  • A bilateral contract is an exchange of promises, usually between two parties. (However, it can be more.)
  • 'I will sell you my car.' 'I will give you £250 for it.'
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What are the three questions to ask about a contra

1) Was there commitment?
Did the parties actually conclude and agree on a contract?

2) Content.
What were the terms of the contract?

3) Timing.
When did the parties become bound to the contract?

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What must a promise be?

Voluntary and serious.

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What is an invitation to treat?

  • An invitation to treat usually precedes an offer.
  • It is an expression to accept offers.
  • It has no legal effect.
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What is an offer?

  • An offer is an expression of willingness to be bound by stipulated terms.
  • This puts the offeror on risk - once the offer has been accepted, it cannot be revoked and there will be a binding contract.
  • An offer can be made expressly or impliedly through conduct.
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Smith v Hughes

  • Smith v Hughes establishes that the test of a party's intentions is objective. If the party's behaviour looks like that which a reasonable person would think that they intended to be bound, they shall be.
  • Storer v Manchester City Council corroborates Smith v Hughes because it establishes that a person cannot escape a binding contract by saying 'I did not intend that' if their actions suggest that they did.
  • Ove Arup established that a subjective approach to intention is not relevant.
  • There is no need for genuine agreement. The appearance of agreement is enough.
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What is a unilateral contract?

  • A unilateral contract can be formed between one party and the whole world.
  • It is a promise to the world at large.
  • 'I promise to pay £100 to anyone who finds my pet snake.'
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What are the elements of a binding contract?

  • Offer
  • Acceptance
  • Intention to create legal relations
  • Consideration
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How can an offer be terminated?

  • Lapse of time. Ramsgate Hotel v Montefiore holds that an offer will lapse after a 'reasonable time'.
  • With regards to a conditional offer, it can be terminated if the party fails to meet the stipulated conditions. E.g: University entry.
  • Courts can imply terms into offers as in Financings Lmt v Stinson.
  • If the offeror dies before completion of the contract, it can still be conducted by a representative. This is if the action does not require the services of the offeror specifically AND the offeree does not know about the death.
  • If the offeree dies before acceptance then the offer lapses.
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