Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adams v Lindsell [1818] EWHC KB J59

1. Whether there was a binding contract between both parties.
2. Whether the contract by the post can consider as a valid contract.

The case involved two parties in the sale of wool. On 2 September, the defendants wrote to the plaintiffs offering to sell them certain fleeces of wool and requiring an answer in the course of post. The defendants misdirected the letter so that the plaintiffs did not receive until 5 September. The plaintiffs posted their acceptance on the same day but it was not received until 9 September. meanwhile, on 8 September, the defendants, not having received an answer by 7 September as they has expected, sold the wool to someone else.

The defendants argued that there could not be a binding contract until the answer was actually received, and until then were free ro sell the wool to another buyer.

Law J said that is that was true it would be impossible to complete any contract through the post; if the defendants were not bound by their offer until the answer was received, then the plaintiffs would not be bound until they had recevied word that the defendants had received their acceptance, and this could go indefinitely. instead it must be considered that the offerers were making the offer to the plaintiffs during every moment tha the letter was in the post.

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