Today's Postal Rule Application

1430 Words Oct 2nd, 2010 6 Pages
It is usually said that not only the offer be accepted, but the acceptance must be communicated to the offeror. Where the parties are negotiating face to face, this present no problem since the acts or words which manifest acceptance will also communicate it. Where the parties are negotiating at a distance by post, telephone, telegram, telex, fax or messenger the principle obviously has important applications. (Dudgale, 1992)

However in the case of postal acceptance, perhaps numerically the most common case, the rule is subject to an exception (Dudgale, 1992). It was decided in Adams v Lindsell (1818) that a postal acceptance was effective as soon as it was posted even if the letter is delayed, destroyed or lost in the post and it never
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Electronic telecommunication, are the most common competition for the long established postal system. One of the earliest references of case law regarding electronic communications is Entores Ltd v. Miles Far East Corporation (1955).

This English case deals with an offer which was sent via the plaintiff’s telex machine to the defendants in Holland. The plaintiff sent a telex message from England offering to purchase 100 tons of Cathodes from the defendants in Holland. The defendant sent back a telex from Holland to the London office accepting that offer. The question for the court was at what point the contract came into existence. If the acceptance was effective from the time the telex was sent the contract was made in Holland and Dutch law would apply. If the acceptance took place when the telex was received in London then the contract would be governed by English law.The English Court of Appeal held that the contract was concluded when the acceptance was received in London. This set a precedent which isolated electronic forms of communication from the authority of the postal rule. (Poole, 2008)

The principles of the Entores case were approved by the House of Lords in the case Brinkibon Ltd. v. Stahag Stahl und Stahlwarenhandelgesellschaft GmbH. Lord Wilberforce declared that he would accept it as a “general rule … but not necessarily a universal rule.”