ADAMS V LINDSELL (1818) OFFER & ACCEPTANCE: Communication of Acceptance


'An offer may be revoked (ie withdrawn) by the offeror at any time before acceptance'

On Wednesday 10 June 1874, the defendant offered to sell his house to the claimant, stating that: 'This offer to be left over until Friday 9 am.' On the Thursday afternoon, the claimant was informed by Berry that the defendant had been offering or agreeing to sell the property to Allan. The claimant therefore went to the house where the defendant was staying and left a formal written acceptance there (the evidence was that the defendant did not receive this document). On the Friday, at 7 a.m., Berry, who was acting as agent for the claimant, found the defendant at the railway station, handed him a copy of the claimant's acceptance, and stated its contents. In fact, the defendant had sold the property to Allan on Thursday 11 June.

Held: The offer might be withdrawn at any time before acceptance, since there was no consideration for the promise to keep the offer open until 9 a.m. on the Friday. Had it, in fact, been withdrawn?

JAMES LJ: [I]t is


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