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An offer is an expression of willingness to contract on
certain terms made with the intention that it shall become binding as soon as
it is accepted by the person to whom it was addressed. A unilateral offer
specifically, is one that is open to being accepted by the world at large. one example
of unilateral offer is an offer of a reward, in this scenario the promise is
made by the one who is offering the reward however unlike a bilateral offer
(where the offeree and offeror both make a promise) there is no return of a
counter-promise1.
Another example of a unilateral offer is that of an advertisement, the case of partridge v Crittenden2 was the leading case which established
a legal precedent deciding that not all advertisements could be considered as
offers, providing that the advertisement had not made a specific promise. Once
an advertisement has made a specific promise it becomes a unilateral offer.

For such an offer to be accepted, there needs to be an
unqualified expression of assent to the terms of the offer, in a unilateral
contract whosoever decides to knowledgeably follow the actions specified in the
advertisement or offer of reward have then accepted the offer. Acceptance of
such offers doesn’t have to be communicated to the offeror to be that effective.
There is validity in acceptance by conduct. The leading example of this is from
the case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball
Co3 where the courts considered Mrs. Carlill
having satisfied the conduct for acceptance by using the product, for the
stated length of time. However, one important fact of acceptance is that the
person who may do the specified act required, yet has no knowledge of the offer
at the time, their actions cannot amount up to acceptance this stemming from R v Clarke4.
Even though previously in Gibbons5
where a police officer could accept the reward for an offer even though he had
no prior knowledge. However, Issacs A.C.J, later decided that for the sake of
the courts this case shall not be used as precedent.6
For revocation of any offer to take place, it is only effective once it has
been communicated to the offeree and revocation is able to take place at any
time before there has been acceptance. For there to be effective revocation of
a unilateral offer the revocation must be given an equal amount of publicity as
the offer had initially, this is stated in article 2:202(2) of the principles
of European Contract Law.7
This was also shown in the case of Shuey
v United States8
where the same result was found. However, a unilateral offer cannot be
revoked once the specifically requested act for acceptance has been completed,
however, it was found in the case of Errington
v Errington9
that if the act is not left to be “incomplete and underperformed”10
then it would continue to be a binding agreement.

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Part (ii)

The contract was originally meant as to that you would be
paid £50 per a week for you to supply the use of 4 pots in return. It was then
later offered to you to be paid the amount of £60 if you delivered on time.
Looking at the pre-existing duty rule, the courts may find that you are not
entitled to the new payment of £60 as you have done no more that you were
previously under contractual duty to do. And it could be argued that there is
no consideration to have made the new agreement binding consideration is
described as “a profit or benefit occurring to one person or some forbearance
detriment, loss suffered by the other.”11 

The leading case for this rule coming from Stilk v myerick12,
where the courts found denied Stilk
the additional payment as they found he had done no more than the work he was
traditionally contracted to do, despite the promise of myerick and the loss of two seamen during the voyage. Consideration
is something in contract law that is highly important and is require for every
change that happens within a contract. However, a case which goes against that
of the decision made in Stilk and
creates an exception is that of Williams
v Roffey13,
in Williams the courts found that the performance of the builder’s previous
contractual duty did amount to consideration, the courts found this to be as
they found that there was a practical benefit that was provided to both
parties. The practical benefit being saving Roffey Bros from having to search
for other carpenters and the benefit of Williams finishing the job and not
breaching their contract. In relation to your scenario, it could be regarded
that there was consideration for the new payment to be binding as there is an
established practical benefit, by paying you more money your able to deliver on
time and stops you from breaching your obligation, which saves their reputation
and their contract with other suppliers. It is fair to say that you should take
them to court as the courts may find that the practical benefit amounts to
enough consideration, to make the additional payment a binding contract. In
which you it is possible they would be found legally responsible for a breach
of contract.

Part B

In this statement regarding the breach of duty, Baron
Alderson has outwardly stated that in his belief there is an objective standard
to which everyone is held to. However, it is arguably unfair and incorrect for
such a statement to be made. It is first important to characterise as to what
is regarded as a breach of duty; a breach of duty is when a defendant’s conduct
falls below the standard of care that is imposed onto them by the law. The
objective standard for a duty of care is that of the reasonable man, the
reasonable man is, a fictional character, it is a metaphorical man. The
“reasonable man” is the most prominent of several standards of behaviour found
in the common law14.
In Hall v Brooklands15
LJ Greer compared the reasonable man to ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus’, the
reasonable man is also compared to be ‘travellers on the London underground.’16
The reasonable man is another term for the objective standard for negligence
within the courts, Looking at the case of Nettleship
v Weston17
where a learner driver accidentally hit a lamppost, injuring her instructor
in the process who procced to take her to court, the courts found that, even
though she was a learner driver she was held liable as ‘a standard is measured
objectively by the care to be expected of an experienced, skilled and careful
driver.’18
Looking at Nettleship it raises the
issue as to whether fault is a question of morals or distribution of blame and
loss.

Even though the Reasonable man is a fictional character, it
does consider many different factors that a compared to its expected objective
standard. These factors were further solidified by the courts in the case of Caparo v Dickman19
there were three factors; Foreseeability, Proximity, and the level of risk each
having to be established for there to be a breach of care.

One of the problems with Aldersons statement is that not
everyone is held to the same objective standard, there are specialised
standards of care that can apply. It is of some belief that it is not about the
man on the Clapham omnibus, but should instead be judged by his peers20
One example of this is children, looking at the case of Mullins v Richards,21
where two 15-year-old girls, who were playing and accidentally injured the
claimants eye, they were judged not against the standard of the reasonable man
but that of a prudent 15-year-old girl. Another example of a specialised
standard of care is, that of Professional Persons, this was further established
in Bolam v Friern22,  which
later became known as the ‘Bolam test’
where a doctor was allegedly negligently breached his duty of care which caused
the claimant to suffer a fractured jaw, the courts found the doctor not liable,
J McNair explains the reasoning; “a professional is not guilty of negligence if
he has acted in accordance with the practice accepted as a proper by a
responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art.”23
However the Bolam test was later
revised in Bolitho24 where it was said that ‘practice should
be regarded as proper by a component, reasonable body of opinion not just a
responsible body of medical opinion.25’
the revision of the test could be seen as an improvement as it is a direction
towards an objective measurable standard even for those of skilled
professionals.

Some believe that the ‘reasonable man’ is outdated and is no
longer an appropriate form of measure. An increase in the feminist perspective
and a more gender sensitive society has caused the ‘reasonable man’ to now be
known as the Reasonable Person, it is still believed by many feminists that the
‘reasonable person’ is still male and acts with detachment from ’emotion’ and
‘sentiment’, both features that are typically connotated with women.26
Another philosophical opinion of the Reasonable Man is that it is just, yet
another abstract figure used within law as a void that is to be filled with judge’s
opinions and decisions as to who they believe have behaved negligently and is
not an objective standard but based on bias. It is important to note that if
the Reasonable man is a void for judges it cause the void to be filed by that
of the average characteristic of judges, that of an old, Middle Aged, white
man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 EWAN
MCKENDRICK, CONTRACT LAW (7th edn, OXFORD UNIV PRESS 2016)

2 Partridge
v Crittenden 1968 EWHC (QB), 2 ALL ER 421 (EWHC (QB)

3Carlill
v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company 1892 EWHC (QB), 2 QB 484 (EWHC (QB)

4 R
V Clarke 1927 HCA 47; (1927) 40 CLR 227 (22 November 1927)’ (High Court of
Australia, 2018)

5 Gibbons
v Proctor 1981 Div Ct, 55 JP 616 (Div Ct)

6 R V Clarke 1927 HCA 47; (1927) 40 CLR 227 (22 November
1927)’ (High Court of Australia, 2018)

7 EWAN
MCKENDRICK, CONTRACT LAW (7th edn, OXFORD UNIV PRESS 2016)

8 Shuey
v United States 1875 Supreme Court, 92 US 73 (Supreme Court)

9 Errington
v Errington and Woods 1952 EWHC, 1 ALL ER 149 (EWHC)

10Denning
LJ, Errington v Errington and Woods 1952 EWHC, 1 ALL ER 149
(EWHC)

11
Lush J, Currie And Misa 1875 LR 10 Exch 153

12 Stilk
v Myrick 1809 EWHC KB, 170 ER 1168 (EWHC KB)

13 Williams
v Roffey Bros and Nicholls (Contractors) Ltd 1999 EWHC Civ, 1 ALL ER
512 (EWHC Civ)

14 Alan
D. Miller, The “Reasonable Man” And Other Legal Standards (2007)

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