The Postal Rule Of Acceptance

1484 WordsFeb 14, 20176 Pages
The postal rule of acceptance is a traditional contract law principle deeply entrenched in the English legal system. However, as contracting is now increasingly taking place through modern methods of written communication, its applicability has not been fully determined by courts. This essay will therefore discuss whether the postal acceptance rule should apply to websites, instant messaging, and predominantly e-mail. I will begin this discussion with an introduction of the postal rule and an outline of the current law for modern methods of written communication. Secondly, I will identify the issues surrounding the current law, addressing the need for legal reform. Thirdly, I will explore whether the postal rule can be practically adapted…show more content…
It can also be restricted by virtue of the circumstances of a particular case. Fullagar LJ stated that: “finding that a contract is completed by the posting of a letter of acceptance cannot be justified unless it is inferred that the offeror contemplated and intended that his offer might be accepted by posting an acceptance letter” . The scope of the postal rule was furthermore addressed by Lawton LJ in Howell V hudges, where his lordship stated that “the rule does not operate if its application would manifest inconvenience and absurdity…” Having introduced the postal rule, I will now explore which other methods of written communication it has been extended to. The courts have approved the application of the postal rule to telegram. However, the rule was not extended to written instantaneous means of communication like the telex . Non-application of the postal rule where communication is instantaneous was affirmed by the House of Lords in Brinkibon. This was followed by Lord Wilberforce’s important remarks, stating that “No universal rule can cover all cases: they must be resolved by reference to the intentions of the parties, by sound business practice and in some cases by judgment of where the risk should lie…” This statement has been relied on by courts ever since, endorsing a fact specific case-by-case approach where no other guideline is available as to whether

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