Unilateral Offer Case Study

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A unilateral offer is one in which only one party has assumed an obligation; they are one-sided and are made without guarantee that another party will accept it at all. An example of a unilateral offer was given in the case of Great Northern Railway Co v Witham where the court stated that a unilateral offer could be to pay someone £100 to walk from London to York. It was explained in the case that a person who sees this offer is not obligated to walk from London to York, but the offeror is obliged to pay the person if he or she completes the task. To accept a unilateral offer, one is not required to communicate acceptance. This was specified in Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. In the case, the manufacturer, Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. offered to pay customers who were not…show more content…
Carlill attempted to claim the money offered after the product did not work as promised, however, the defendant argued that since acceptance was not communicated, there was no contract between the two parties. The court disagreed, stating that the offer was accepted by Mrs. Carlill’s conduct and communication of that acceptance was not needed. Lichtenstein and Read explain that in practical terms, there usually is communication of the offer to collect the reward, however “there is a complete contract in existence once the act of acceptance has been completely performed, whether or not the offeror is aware that this is the case.” Unilateral offers and acceptances are not the only things that make them unique; the general rule of revocation of a unilateral offer is also different to that of bilateral contracts. This is exemplified in the case of Errington v Errington and Woods where a father offered to convey his house to his son and daughter-in-law if they paid the mortgage-instalments. After the father died, his estate attempted to revoke this offer but it was held that a unilateral offer could not be revoked if the offeree had already begun performance of the conditions of that

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