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FELTHOUSE V BINDLEY

General Principle:


Silence cannot be used as a means to accept an offer.


Name:


Felthouse v Bindley (1863) 142 ER 1037, Exch Ch


Facts:


Felthouse (the claimant) talked about buying a horse from his nephew. Felthouse wrote to his nephew Bindley stating "If I hear no more from you, I shall consider the horse to be mine at £30.” The nephew did not reply, no money was paid, and the horse remained in the nephew’s custody.


The nephew took action to contact an auctioneer in order to withdraw the horse from an auction. The auctioneer forgot these instructions and the horse was sold to a different person. In order for the uncle to make a claim against the auctioneer, he had to demonstrate that a contract was in place between him and his nephew Bindley.


Ratio:


The Court of Common Pleas held that no contract existed; Felthouse’s letter provided an open offer and it had not been accepted.


Application:


Silence does not amount to acceptance of an offer there has to be an acceptence in writing or verbally.



Felthouse v Bindley

Analysis:


To accept an offer, the offeree needs to clearly convey their acceptance to the offeror. There is acceptance from the moment there is communication. In situations where the offeree was simply aiming to accept, however did not communicate their intention to the offeror, a contract cannot exist. In short, Silence does not amount to acceptance of an offer. In Felthouse v Bindley (1863) 142 ER 1037, Exch Ch, the claimant talked about buying a horse from his nephew.Felthouse wrote to his nephew Bindley stating "If I hear no more from you, I shall consider the horse to be mine at £30.” The Court of Common Pleas held that no contract existed. Felthouse’s letter provided an open offer and it had not been accepted. Thus using the above authority there can be no contract at this stage.



Felthouse v Bindley


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