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Postal Essay Examples

3QUESTION: What reasons have been given by the courts for the postal acceptance rule? and in what circumstances will the postal acceptance rules not operate?3
INTRODUCTION An acceptance agreement strengthens a time draft by putting the acceptor under contractual obligation to pay. International trade is facilitated by banks enacting banker's acceptances, thereby guaranteeing the payment for goods. Postal rule is a rule of contrac law which makes an exception to the general rule citing that an acceptance is only created when communicated directly to the offeror. An acceptance is binding and the contract is only said to be perfected when the acceptor places acceptance in the mail box for a return mail, even if it never reaches the offeror. The posting rule is an exception to the general rule of contract law in common law countries that acceptance takes place when communicated. The posting regulation states, by contrast, that acceptance takes effect when a letter is posted. One justification given for the rule is that the offer or nominates the post officeas implied agent and thus receipt of the acceptance by the post office is regarded as that of the offer0ee. However, if the offeree sends a rejection and then sends an acceptance whichever communication is received by the offeror first controls. DEFINITION OF ACCEPTENCE A contractual agreement on a time draft or sight draft to pay the amount due at a specified date. The party who is expected to pay the draft writes "accepted", or similar wording indicating acceptance, next to his or her signature along with the date. This person then becomes the acceptor, and is obligated to make the payment by the maturity date. A banker's acceptance is a time draft honored by a bank, and is typically used in international trade. A trade acceptance is a time draft drawn by the seller of goods on a buyer. In a trade acceptance, the buyer is the acceptor. The postalruleis a concept ofcontract lawthat is commonly referred to as themailbox rule. It was formed at a time when contracting parties did much of their bargaining from a distance. Bargaining at a distance, typically through the mail, created a problem, because the parties could not know at the same time whether they had formed acontract. As a result, a generalruledictating the time of an effective acceptance was necessary. Thus, thepostalrulewas created and stands for the proposition that acceptance is effective on dispatch . Thepostalruleis an exception to the generalrule, which dictates that acceptance is effective on receipt. The rational behind thepostalruleis that it encourages contracting by parties at a distance by making the person in the position of giving an acceptance just as secure as if thecontractwas being made face to face. From a policy standpoint, it also fosters the creation of contracts at the earliest possible moment QUESTION: What reasons have been given by the courts for the postal acceptance rule? and in what circumstances will the postal acceptance rules not operate? Since the inception of the postal acceptance rule in 1818, numerous alternative methods of communication have been developed, including the telephone, telex, telegraph, facsimile and e-mail. This article examines whether the postal acceptance rule will be applied to acceptances communicated by e-mail. In resolving this issue the authors consider how an e-mail is transmitted, the ambit of the postal acceptance rule and its underlying policy considerations and how the Courts have resolved this issue in relation to other modern forms of communication. It is well established that the general rule governing the acceptance of an offer is that acceptance is not effective until it is communicated to the offeror.1 However, an equally well established exception to this general proposition is the postal acceptance rule. Although the postal acceptance rule is deeply entrenched within our legal system, the scope of the rule and its applicability to modern forms of communication are issues which have not been conclusively determined by the courts. Since the initial formulation of the postal acceptance rule, communication technology has dramatically changed. As each new method of communication has emerged, the courts have been compelled to determine the applicability of the postal acceptance rule. The development of e-mail means that this issue has once again arisen for consideration. Due to the increase in the use of e-mail as a tool of commerce, it is essential that this issue be resolved to enable contracting parties to utilize this new technology with a degree of certainty Acceptance is not effective as a general rule unless communicated to the offeror. However the postal acceptance rule is one important exception. The postal rule was first used inAdams v Linsellto mean that acceptance takes place once a letter of acceptance is posted by the offeree. The defendant’s argument was that once they did not hear from the plaintiffs they were not in consensus and therefore proceeded to sellthe wool. A number of cases proceeded along these linesDunlop v Higginsas well as HouseholdCarriage vFire Insuranceeven though the offeror sufferedhardshipas a result of the letters of acceptance being delayed orgetting lostin the post. The postal acceptance rule flies against the requirement in the law of contract that acceptance has to be communicated. More importantly it weakens the doctrine of consensus at idem (meeting of minds) for a contract to take place as well as the mirror theory that there must be a definite offer mirrored by a definite acceptance. Hardship is placed on the offeror but not on the offeree. Also various complications can occur because of this exception tothe generalrule that acceptance is not effective as a general rule unless communicated to the offeror. There have been several justifications according to Simon Gardner in his article "Trashing with Trollope" for this rule none of which have been satisfactory. The first one was that thepost officewas the agent of the offeror and so receipt of the letter by the agent is equivalent to receipt by the offeror. This is unacceptable as the post office is merely the conduit by which letters pass through. The post office cannot contract on behalf of the offeror. The second justification is that the offeror has chosen to start negotiations through the post and so the risk of delay or loss in the post should be on him. However this precludes situations where negotiations initiated by the offeror did not involve letters. The third justification is that it leads to businessefficiency and and enables the offeree to act on a binding contract the moment the acceptance letter is posted. This justification is advantageous to the offeree but not to the offeror. With such tenuous arguments it is was no wonder that the postal rule was circumscribed.Henthorn v Fraserdecided that the postal rule would only apply if it was within the contemplation of the parties to use the post or in the case ofByrne v Van Tienhovenwhich began to confine the postal rule within narrow limits. This particular case made the law even more confusing as there were now separate rules for the postal rule with regard to offers and revocation of offers. The justification was that making acceptance complete at posting rather than delivery minimizes the window within which such a revocation may take place. Conversely making the offeror’s revocation ineffective until communicated prolongs the window during which an offeree may accept. The cumulative effect made it additionally onerous on the offeror. The development of faster rules of communication at the time could have something to do with these particularly important developments. A situation could arise where the offeree who changes her mind: for example if after posting a letter of acceptance, she informs the offeror by telephone, before the letter arrives, that she rejects the offer. In the absence of English cases the Scottish case ofDunmore v Alexanderis quoted where it was decided that because of the additional cost of using speedier communication was used, the effect would be that there would be an effective revocation and that the original acceptance will cease to be effective. More confusion would follow with the decision in the case ofEntores v Miles Far East Corpwhere it was held that the postal rule did not apply to telexes and that it was confined to non instantaneous forms of communication. The same approach was taken with regard to faxes inBrinkibon v Stahag Stahl. The widest exception to the postal rule was recognised inHolwell Securities v Hugheswhere it was suggested that the postal rule ought not to apply where it would lead to manifest inconvenience and absurdity. With more instant forms of communication such as e-mail, correspondence by post is becoming an exception rather than the rule. It is important that the postal rule be confined to the museum and that the rules of acceptance be applied regardless of the mode of communication. Differences in application of the rule for other more instant means of communication would make it difficult to apply uniformity to the rules of offer and acceptance. It would seem that even with more modern technologies there is still proof of posting does not guarantee that there has been acceptance. Just because the message transmission ok on a fax machine or message sent in an email box does not necessarily mean that the receiver has received it. It would seem that in any form of communication proof of posting is not proof of receipt and that parties must ensure that there acceptance is communicated regardless. Where post is the requested form of communication between parties or where it is an appropriate and accepted means of communication between parties, acceptance is complete as soon as the letter is posted. Even if the letter was mislaid or lost and does not reach the offeror. It is a requirement that the letter of acceptance has been properly posted London andNorthern Bank(1900). It is found telegrams also fall under the postal rule. An issue that rises from the Postal rule is that there is a period of time, where person(s) are in the dark as to whether a contract is in existence or not. Courts have decided that the offeror assumes all the risk, as the offer is still open during the time the letter of acceptance is in the post Adams v Lindsell(1818). The decision was based on the fact that an acceptance of an offer could go on ad infinitum, back and forth between the parties. If one had to acknowledge the receipt and then the acknowledgment had to be acknowledged so on and so forth. Unless the offeror has clearly stated in the terms of the offer that acceptance must be communicated by other means the offer must be accepted through the terms of the postal rule. Such a situation arose in the case Holwell securities Ltd v Hughes (1974), where the in the terms of the offer it was clearly indicated acceptance had to be by “notice in writing”. The letter of acceptance was lost in the post; therefore Hughes did not receive a valid acceptance as he had not received a “notice in writing”. There are further cases highlighting the method of communication in relation to acceptance. Where a method of communication is stipulated by the offeror. Clear wording is required if the method of communication is to be mandatory. In Yates Building Co v RJ Pulleyn (1975) the acceptance was to be sent by “registered or recordeddelivery post”. The plaintiff sent his acceptance by through the standardpost service. The defendant refused to accept the bid as it was not sent to them by the methods as they had outlined in the offer. The courts found that there was a binding contract in place with the receipt of the acceptance by letter. This ruling was appealed and the court further outlined the findings by stating the offeror did not state that the only method of acceptance as outlined would be binding. Another area the postal rule was rigorously tested was where the original offer was withdrawn or revoked. When does the revocation come into effect under the postal rule? Under the postal rule, the letter of acceptance is relevant on posting. Letters communicating revocation come into effect only when the letter revoking the offer is delivered. Key case dealing with revocation under the postal rule is Byrne v Van Tienhoven (1880). The judges ruled in this case in favour of the plaintiff. The judges ruled it was proven by the plaintiff they had accepted the original offer by posting a response to the defendant. The letter of revocation was received after their letter of acceptance had been posted by the plaintiff. RELEVENT CASE LAW: ADAM VS LINDSELL: The case ofAdams v Lindsell (1818) 1 B & Ald 681is taught to university law students when studying offer and acceptance. It is often thought by students to have set a rather strange precedent. However, this is because modern students are viewing Adams v Lindsell in a modern context, rather than the somewhat different context of previous times. This piece will explain the facts which occurred in Adams v Lindsell and what the court decided. It will then go on to describe when the rule in Adams v Lindsell will be applicable. The facts of Adams v Lindsell are that: the defendants wrote to the plaintiffs on 2 September, offering to sell them some wool and requested that the plaintiffs reply ‘in course of post'. The letter which contained the offer was wrongly addressed and therefore the plaintiffs did not receive it until 5 September. As a result of this delay, the letter of acceptance was not received until 9 September by the defendants, and this was two days later than the defendants would have expected to receive it. Because of this, on 8 September the defendants had sold the wool to a third person. The question for the court in Adams v Lindsell was therefore whether a contract of sale had been entered into before 8 September when the wool was sold to the third party. If the acceptance was effective when it arrived at the address or when the defendant saw it, then no contract would have been made and the sale to the third party would amount to revocation of the offer. However, the court held that the offer had been accepted as soon as the letter had been posted. Thus, in Adams v Lindsell there was indeed a contract in existence before the sale of the wool to the third party, even though the letter had not actually been received by the defendant. The defendant was therefore liable in breach of contrack The ‘postal rule' inAdams v Lindsellhas since been confirmed in Household Fire and CarriageAccident InsuranceCo v Grant (1879) 4 EX D 216 where the defendant applied for some shares in a company. These were then allotted to him but he never received the letter of allotment. It was held that a contract existed. More recently, Adams v Lindsell has been reinforced by Brinkibon Ltd v Stahag Stahl and Stahlwarenhandelsgesellschaft GmbH [1983] 2 AC 34 where it was held that acceptance is effective when it is placed in the control of the Post Office, ie. placed in a post box or handed to an officer of the post. There are several theories about the rule in Adams v Lindsell. One such theory is that the rule prevents an offeree from accepting by post but then nullifying this acceptance by rejecting the offer by a quicker means of communication. Another theory is that without the rule an offeree would not be able to know for certain whether they had actually entered into a contract or not. It can be seen that in all cases one of the parties is going to suffer hardship, and the rule in Adams v Lindsell results in this party being the offeror rather than the offeree. This can perhaps be justified because when an offeror chooses to start negotiations by post he takes the risk of delay and accidents in the post. Furthermore, the offeror can avoid the rule in Adams v Lindsell by expressly stipulating that he is not to be bound until actual receipt of the acceptance. A further theory for the existence of the postal rule as adopted in Adams v Lindsell is that if the offeror, either expressly or impliedly, indicates that postal acceptance is sufficient then they should bear the consequences of the postal rule, as the defendant did in Adams v Lindsell. Moreover, Adams v Lindsell could be considered support for the idea that the offeror should be considered as making the offer all the time that the offer is in the post, and that therefore the agreement between the two parties is complete at the moment that acceptance is posted. In Adams v Lindsell itself it was suggested (at 683) that if the rule did not exist “no contract could ever be completed by the post. For if the [offerors] were not bound by their offer when accepted by the [offerees] till the answer was received, then the [offerees] ought not to be bound till after they had received the notification that the [offerors] had received their answer and assented to it. And so it might go on ad infinitum”. One further reason for the existence of the rule in Adams v Lindsell is that the post office can be considered to be the common agent of both parties, and therefore communication to this agent immediately completes the contract. However, where the letter is not addressed then this will not be enough. Therefore, mere delivery of the acceptance to the agent does not of itself complete a contract for the purpose of the rule in Adams v Lindsell. The Adams v Lindsell postal rule only applies when it is reasonable to use the post as a means of communicating acceptance. So, an offer made in a letter sent by post could be accepted by post. Yet at other times postal acceptance may be reasonable. For example in Henthorn v Fraser [1892] 2 Ch 27 it was held to be reasonable to post acceptance in response to an oral offer because the parties lived some distance away from each other. However, Adams v Lindsell will not normally apply where acceptance is made by post in response to an offer made by telex, email or telephone. Furthermore, Adams v Lindsell will not apply if the acceptor knew that the postal service was at that time disrupted. Adams v Lindselltherefore has three consequences in English law. Firstly, a posted acceptance prevails over a previously posted withdrawal of the offer which had not yet reached the offeree when the acceptance was posted. Secondly, acceptance takes effect on posting even where it never reaches the offeror or only does so after delay. Finally, the contract is taken to have been made at the time of posting so as to take priority over another contract made after the original acceptance was posted CONCLUSION It is evident that the arguments relating to retention or desertion of the general rule are advanced; it is also clear from the aforementioned that in order to provide the valid conclusion the legislators have to consider many aspects of communication that is conducted by electronic means. In writer’s view it is essential to also asses the rule applicable to revocation of contract as the technology development has changed the way how and when the acceptance takes place and therefore it can be often discriminatory to bind offeror and leave alternatives largely open for the offeree. REFERENCE
  1. http://libromeo.blogspot.com/2012/02/postal-rule.html
  2. http://www.bitsoflaw.org/contract/formation/study-note/degree/acceptance-postal-rule

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Introduction An arrangement of a contract needs an agreement; it follows that, in sort for such agreement to be reached. There have to have an offer offered by one party which is accepted by the other. An acceptance is that, a concluding and incompetent expression of consent to the terms of an offer. To determine whether an agreement has been reached under a historical contract theory, an acceptance which matches the offer that has been made is essential. In accordance to an acceptance, the communication of an acceptance can be broken down into a mixture of components depending on the circumstances. An acceptance can be made or through carry out, private courier, silence, electronic communication, internet transaction, and finally, by post. In this current world, communication can take place in many ways. That being said there might be deferred among the sending of an acceptance. The rule functional here is that no communication is successful until it is acknowledged and understood by the person to whom it is addressed. This however does not valid to the postal rule. The postal rule is an exemption to the general rule that an acceptance must come up to to the attention of the offeror. Fundamentally, this rule can be defined as a rule of contract law that makes exclusion to the common rule and the principle acknowledged was that, a contract is formed the instant the acceptance letter is sent, relatively than when they are communicated. The statute is intended to remove ambiguity from the contract arrangement process. It provides the offeree with assurance that an acceptance once it is posted will be efficient, even though the postal system delays delivery of the acceptance letter away from the offer date. The main cause for this is historical, as at the time when postage of a letter is slower and less dependable than it is today, in this modern century. In the sensible allegation of the postal rule today, it is much easier to establish that a letter of acceptance has been sent than to verify whether it has been acknowledged or reached the attention of the offeror. Definition The postal rule is a theory of contract law that is generally referred to as the mailbox rule. It was created at a time when contracting parties did a large amount of their bargaining from a distance. Bargaining at a distance, typically through the mail, formed a problem, because the parties could not discern at the same time whether they had formed a contract. As a result, a general rule dictating the time of an efficient acceptance was obligatory. Thus, the postal rule was created and stands for the suggestion that acceptance is efficient on dispatch. The postal rule is exclusion to the general rule, which dictates that acceptance is effectual on receipt. The rationale behind the postal rule is that it encourages contracting by parties at a distance by making the person in the position of giving an acceptance just as protected as if the contract was being completed face to face. From the policy perspective, it also fosters the formation of contracts at the earliest possible minute. The postal rule creates an exception to the belief that acceptance is incomplete until it is communicated to the offeror. The postal rule states that acceptance is absolute on posting. This vagueness led to the creation of the postal rule to make contract formation more just for the offeree. By implying the rule, the offeree’s acceptance is good from the minute it is mailed; in other words, it becomes effective once it is dispatch. By eradicating a lot of the ambiguity involved in bargaining through the mail, the postal rule did what it was intended to do. It created safety for the offeree, and by expansion, it encouraged contracting between two parties when meeting face to face was difficult, if not unattainable. Adam v Lindsell case law is the starting point where postal rule was recognized around 19th century. Adams v Lindsell (1818) Facts: The case concerned two parties in the sale of wool. On September 2nd, the defendants wrote to the plaintiff offering to trade them certain fleeces (wooly coat of sheep) of wool and requiring an answer in the course of post. The defendants misdirected the letter so that the plaintiffs did not receive it until September 5th. The plaintiff posted their acceptance on the same day but it was not received until September 9th. Meanwhile, on September 8th, the defendant, not having received an answer by September 7th as they had expected, sold the wool to someone else. The defendant argued that there could not be a binding contract until the answer was actually received, and until then they were free to sell the wool to another buyer. Held: Law J said that, “If that was true it would be impossible to complete any contract through the post, if the defendant was not bound by their offer until the answer was received, then the plaintiff would not be bound until they had received confirmation that the defendant had received their acceptance, and this could go on indefinitely.”[1] Conclusion: The postal rule does not concern to option contracts or permanent offers where acceptance is still efficient only ahead of acceptance. This is because the offeree no longer needs security against consequently mailed revocations of the offer. Result: The plaintiffs succeed in their claim. The defendant had committed a breach of contract. To have a change in mind or withdraw from an offer, or made an offer with someone else is possible by the offeror but nonetheless, the court looked into the manner, business would be better served by giving the offeree assurance, thus the postal rule was formed. This case had created innumerable problems and has led to a creation of the rule. This rule as acknowledged in the common law legal system is: Lord Herschell stated that, “Where the circumstances are such that it must have been within the contemplation of the parties that, according to the ordinary usages of mankind, the post might be used as a means of communicating the acceptance of an offer, the acceptance is complete as soon as it is posted.”[2] The ambiguity regarding the moment of contract arrangement does not take place in the environment of. In face-to-face communication or in distance contracting there is no vagueness on the moment when the contract is formed because of the immediate method of communication used. In this method of contracting, all parties are conscious of contract wrapping up and they do not face sticky topics for example malfunction of transmission or delay which take place in non instantaneous communications. Certainty The postal rule stated that, certainty is for the acceptor as he knows that there is a binding contract the moment he posts his acceptance letter. The offeror can construct certainty for him by stipulating that he must obtain acceptance before it is requisite or set other such confines. The offeror is in a point to efficiently get rid of the postal rule and if he selects not to then he is subjected to the limitations of postal communication. Household Fire & Carriage Accident Insurance Co. v Grant (1879) Fact: The plaintiff’s company was offered by the defendants to sell their shares to them. The plaintiff fixed the shares to the defendant and sent him a letter to verify. The letter was missing in the post. The liquidator requested that the defendant make the exceptional payments on his shares when the plaintiff’s company went into bankruptcy. The defendant refused to pay as they stated that there was no binding contract in the first place. Held: There was a binding contract formed. The postal rule had been applied, meaning that it was irrelevant for the defendant to say that there is no binding contract, even though the letter of acceptance was lost in the post because a binding contract is formed once the letter was actually posted. Thesiger LJ: ‘…if the post office be such common agent then it seems to me to follow that as soon as the letter of acceptance is delivered to the post office, the contract is made as complete and binding as if the acceptor had put his letter into the hands of a messenger sent by the offeror himself as his agent to deliver the offer and receive the acceptance…’[3] Thesiger LJ noted that when communicating by post: ‘…it is impossible…to adjust conflicting rights between innocent parties, so as to make the consequences of mistake on the part of a mutual agent fall equally on the shoulders of both…’[3] Bramwell LJ noted the offeror could avoid the postal rule by stating ‘your answer by post is only to bind if it reaches me…’[3] Nevertheless, Yates Building co. Ltd v Pulleyn & Son (York) Ltd (1975) stated that every necessity about the manner of acceptance must be visibly stated to be applicable. Yates Building Co. Ltd. V Pulleyn & Son (York) (1975) Facts: the defendant contracted the plaintiff an opportunity to buy land, exercisable by notice in writing to be sent by “registered or recorded delivery post”. The plaintiff sent a letter compliant to the offer by regular post, which was accepted by the defendant who refused to acknowledge it as valid. Held: It was held that this manner of acceptance was legitimate and was no disadvantage to the offeror, as the manner fixed was only to guarantee the delivery and that had happened. In addition, the verdict in Tinn v Hoffman & Co. (1873) defines that where a necessity for a certain category of reply has been made, an evenly efficient manner of communication will also be deemed adequate provided it is just as immediate and does not disadvantage the offeror. An offer by email could consequently be accepted for example, by telephone. Tinn v Hoffman & Co. (1873) Acceptance was requested by return of post. Honeyman J. said: “That does not mean exclusively a reply by letter or return of post, but you may reply by telegram or by verbal message or by any means not later than a letter written by return of post.”[4] Limitations The postal rule only applies to acceptance and to other communication between contracting parties. The postal rule does not apply where it was unreasonable for the acceptance letter to be sent by post. Quenerduaine v Cole (1883) Fact: The defendant made an offer by telegram which the plaintiff supposed to accept by letter. Held: The postal rule did not apply. The court found that an offer which was prepared by telegram which is an instantaneous kind of way implied that an equally quick acceptance was required. The postal rule does not apply if the letter was not properly addressed, stamped, and posted. Re London & Northern Bank, Ex P. Jones (1900) Fact: Dr. Jones makes an offer to the London Northern Bank. At 7.00 am, a letter of acceptance, being addressed to Dr. Jones, was handed to a postman in a post office foyer. The postman had no right to collect letters, only to deliver post. At 9.30 am, Dr. Jones delivered a letter to the bank revoking his offer. At 7.30 pm, the bank’s acceptance letter was delivered to Dr. Jones. Held: The postal rule did not relevant as a result of the incorrect posting. A letter must be placed in a mail box or given to a post office employee who is allowed to receive mail. The postal rule can be displaced by the offeror. Holwell Securities Ltd v Hughes (1974) Facts: Facts: Dr. Hughes contracted Holwell Securities an opportunity to acquire his house for £45, 000. The decision was to be exercisable ‘by notice in writing’ within 6 months. Holwell posted a letter exercising the option, five days before the expiry. This letter was never acknowledged by Hughes. Holwell wanted to enforce the decision relying on the postal rule stating the acceptance took place before the expiry of the decision. Held: By requiring ‘notice in writing’, Dr. Hughes had precise that he had to actually accept the communication and had therefore disqualified the postal rule. Acceptance is only effective on communication which is receipt of the letter, when the postal rule does not apply. Retraction In cases where the postal rule applies and acceptance is efficient on posting, is the acceptor party able to retract the acceptance letter before it comes to the consideration of the offeror? Without a doubt, firm appliance of the postal rule defines that retraction of acceptance is impossible as there is a binding contract once a letter is sent. On the other hand, the postal rule has developed with the purpose of benefit the acceptor so it can be debated that it should not be applied in a way which is disadvantageous to him. For example, if he wishes to change his decision after posting and the offeror has yet to receive his communication of acceptance to inflict the postal rule would be to his loss. It would not cause the offeror to put up with as the removal of acceptance would take place aforementioned to him realizing it had been agreed, so he would not yet have been capable to act ahead it. Allowing retraction can also be seen as making an iniquitous preconceived notion in favor of the acceptor, whom would benefit both from the sureness of the postal rule and be able to make use of retraction to cogitate at the expense of the offeror. An imbalance would subsist where a binding contract is formed by good worth of the postal rule and the acceptor could retract but an offeror is not allowed to revoke the offer. Byrne & Co. v Van Tienhoven & Co. (1880) Facts: the defendant posted a letter offering goods for sale to the plaintiff on October 1st. However, the defendant revoked the offer which arrived at the plaintiff’s place on October 20th. By October 11th, the plaintiff had accepted the offer by telegram and had posted a letter confirming the acceptance on October 15th. Held: It was apprehended that the defendant’s revocation was ineffective until it was received on October 20th. This was too behind schedule as the contract was prepared on the 11th when the plaintiff sent a telegram. Verdict was set for the plaintiff. In Byrne & Co. v Van Tienhoven & Co. (1880), the courts established the venerable thought that any revocation of an offer must be communicated to the offeree; even though, again there are some exceptions to this statute. The offeror required to communicate this revocation to the offeree himself, though. It is not always possible for a company, or even an individual, to communicate straightly with the other contracting party and this is reflected in the judgment of Dickinson v Dodds (1876) that revocation may be communicated by a dependable third party. Dickinson v Dodds (1876) Facts: Dodds offered to trade his house to Dickinson, the offer being release until Friday, 9 am. On Thursday, Dodds sold the house to Allan. Dickinson was being told about the sale by Berry, the estate agent, and he delivered an acceptance before 9 am Friday. The trial judge awarded Dickinson a ruling of specific performance. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the judge. Held: James LJ stated that the plaintiff knew that Dodds was no longer minded to trade the property to him as obvious and undoubtedly as if Dodds had told him in so many words, “I withdraw the offer.” This was apparent from the plaintiff’s own statements. It was lucid that before there was any attempt at acceptance by the plaintiff, he was completely well conscious that Dodds had altered his mind, and that he had indeed agreed to trade the property to Allan. It was not possible, as a result to say there was ever that existence of the same mind between the two parties which is crucial in point of law to the making of an agreement. The issue has also being considered in other jurisdictions. Wenkheim v Arndt (1873) Fact: This case is originated from New Zealand. The plaintiff offered to marry the defendant, which had sent an acceptance by letter. The defendant’s mother professed to draw back the acceptance by telegram which is prior to the acceptance (acceptance letter) being received by the plaintiff. Held: The retraction was unacceptable. The case is cited to hold up the view that retraction is impossible. Yet, whether the third party was certified was also an concern in this case. Countess of Dunmore v Alexander (1830) Facts: The case was originated from Scotland. A disagreement over whether communication between two prospective employers had formed a contract to employ a servant. Held: No contract was produced. As a result, it appears that a postal acceptance could be withdrawn by a speedier means. The case is cited to hold up the vision that retraction may be possible. On the other hand, it was a majority decision and the reasoning is very vague. Recommendation In the new world of the 21st century, the technology is ahead of our imagination. The method of forming a contract, say, for instance, an offer, acceptance and the invitation to treat are theoretically depending on the electronic communication. The well-known form of an acceptance in the world nowadays can be made by a simple click by an email. An electronic mail is frequently being seen as a digital requirement of the postal arrangement, of course, in the modern age. Thus, the postal rule can be applied to the acceptance sent by the mail. On the other hand, to settle on whether a postal rule is relevant to the acceptance by mail, some modes of communication advantage from the rule or not needs to be ascertained. The still unending disagreement is that the postal rule only applies when the offer contemplates acceptance by non-instantaneous way of communication. Conclusion In conclusion, it is perhaps the time that postal rules shall be restated for the 21st century. A potential reformulation would focus on the non-instantaneous nature of communications which gain from the rule. Perhaps the new rule should state that, ‘The acceptance is effective from the time it leaves the acceptor’s control, where an offer contemplates acceptance by a non-immediate form of communication.’ Such a description would eliminate the need for a trusted third party and would cover all non-instantaneous methods of communication which is also includes those not yet created. It does though necessitate that methods of communication can be divide into instantaneous and non-instantaneous, a difference that may be become distorted with potential technological advances. Reference
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  2. Acceptance:postal rule. Available from: http://www.bitsoflaw.org/contract/formation/revision-note/degree/acceptance-postal-rule [Accessed 5 April 2014]
  3. The postal rule in English contract law. Available from: https://suite.io/zoe-kirk-robinson/3a99230 [accessed 5April 2014]
  4. Relevance of the postal rule of acceptance. Available from: http://www.ukessays.com/essays/law/relevance-of-the-postal-rule-of-acceptance-law-essay.php [Accessed 5 April 2014]
  5. What is the postal rule? Available from: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-postal-rule.htm [Accessed 5 April 2014]
  6. Does the postal rule apply to revocation? Available from: http://www.experts123.com/q/does-the-postal-rule-ap [Accessed 5April 2014]
  7. Holwell Securities v Hughes. Available from: http://www.e-lawresources.co.uk/Holwell-Securities- [Accessed 5 April 2014]

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