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GIBSON v MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL

General Principle:


An agreement can only exist when a clear offer is made that is then mirrored by a clear statement of acceptance.


Name:


Gibson v Manchester City Council [1979] 1WLR 294


Facts:


This was a case concerning the sale of a council house. Manchester City Council wrote to tenants of some of their council houses. They invited them to apply to purchase their homes. The complainant in this case, Gibson, returned the form that the Council sent out. A price was then agreed between Gibson and the Council. Whilst this was happening, a new political party was elected into power. The new council of Manchester City refused to proceed with the sale of the house to Gibson.


Ratio:


The House of Lords in Gibson v Manchester City Council held that no legally binding contract existed. Gibson had made an offer that Manchester City Council had still not accepted. Statements in the communications such as “may be prepared to sell” and “please complete the enclosed application form” all appeared to be elements of an invitation to treat.



Gibson v Manchester City Council [1979] 1WLR 294

Analysis:


Naomi sends an e-mail to Megan "I could let you have that vintage pair [Loubby shoes] we discussed for £300. Let me know as soon as possible if you are interested. I shall be away on tour this weekend." The general principle is, for an agreement to exist a clear offer must be made and then mirrored by a clear statement of acceptance. In Gibson v Manchester City Council [1979] 1WLR 294, Manchester City Council wrote to tenants of some of their council houses. They invited them to apply to purchase their homes. After an election the new council of Manchester City refused to proceed with the sale. The House of Lords held that no legally binding contract existed. Gibson had made an offer that Manchester City Council had still not accepted. Statements in the communications such as “may be prepared to sell” and “please complete the enclosed application form” all appeared to be elements of an invitation to treat. The words used by Naomi "I could let you have that vintage pair” is not a definite offer. It is too vague to be considered a valid contractual offer and all appeared to be elements of an invitation to treat.



Gibson v Manchester City Council

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