Offer and Invitation to Treat

1037 Words Sep 9th, 2012 5 Pages
In our daily life, we are actually entered into contracts without knowledge. In simple words, contract is a bargain, in which both parties are expect to get benefits with consensus ad idem in a legal relation. An offer is a necessary element that must present for a legally binding contract to be in place.

An offer and an invitation to treat are two different aspects. An invitation to treat is defined as an action inviting other parties to make an offer to form a contract, whereas an offer is an expression made by offeror to offeree communicating the offeror’s willingness to perform a promise. The distinction is important because accepting an offer creates a binding contract while accepting an invitation to treat is actually making an
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Bell [1961] 1 QB 394, the defendant, a shopkeeper displayed a flick-knife in the window of his shop, with a note writing “Ejector knife- 4s”. He was charged under Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 for displaying that flick-knife in the window for sale. However, he argued that he is not liable in this case. The defendant submitted that the display of anything in a show window is merely an invitation to treat as it is the customers who made the offer to buy the knife. The courts had held that the knife was not “offered for sale”, goods displayed in a shop with price label is treated as an invitation to treat by the seller, not an offer. Thus, there is no liability arose.

This is further illustrated in the case of Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v. Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd [1953] 1 QB 401. In this case, the defendants operated a retail self-service chemist, they let their customers to pick up drugs from the shelves themselves. The pharmacist will only supervise the transaction at the cash counter. The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain objected and sued Boots under the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1933 Section 18(1) for their unlawful practice. Boots defend themselves by saying that an offer is valid only when the buyers are at the counter and ready to pay. The courts had held that the displaying of goods was not an offer. Customers who place the goods into the basket are the one who made the offer to buy and thus, this offer can be accepted or
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