Principles of Contract Law
Offer and acceptance are the starting points for establishing a legally binding contract. Typically, an offer is required to contain a definitive promise which provides the other party to which it is addressed with an unambiguous option to accept or decline the offer.2 Once the essential elements of offer and acceptance are found to exist the courts will look to determine whether or not there is a consideration. Consideration is also an essential element of the contract and will determine whether or not a legally binding contract was created and is capable of enforcement. L.J. Lush offered the following definition of consideration in the early case of Currie v Misa (1875) stating that it was:It is against this background that Tom’s right to claim compensation from Beatlit Ltd. will be determined. In other words, if an offer was made and duly accepted and there was a consideration, Tom has a valid claim for payment of the sum of 1,000 pounds. The discussion that follows identifies the actual offer and acceptance and their implications with respect to the construction of the terms and conditions of the contract. The doctrine of promissory estoppel may also arise and this aspect of the law of contract will be discussed in its proper context.As previously stated all contracts begin with an offer. However, the offer is required to meet specific requirements chief among them is the requirement of clarity. The offer must be stated in terms that clearly convey the subject matter of the offer and the terms and conditions upon which the offer is made.5 Beatlit Ltd.is unambiguously offering to pay the sum of 1,000 pounds to anyone who uses their product “forever quit” pursuant to instructions for a period of four months and having done so is still unable to quit smoking.Beatlt Ltd.’s offer was made by virtue of an advertisement placed in various magazines and newspapers. In a typical case, an advertisement is regarded as an “invitation to treat” sinceadvertisements are generally lacking in specific detail and clarity which are necessary for establishing the existence of a valid offer in the law of contract.