Formation of a contract

The assignment is in the form of a problem question dealing with the formation of a contract. You will also need to review the relevant material in Units 2, 3 and 4. You are encouraged to do further independent research, but are not required to.

On 3 October Paul, a keen collector of rowing memorabilia, decided to sell his rowing blade which had been autographed by Steve Redgrave, the famous Olympic rower. Paul knew his friend James had always admired the blade, and so he phoned James, asking if he was interested in buying it for £800. James replied saying that he did not think the blade was worth £800, but that he was prepared to pay £700 for it. On 6 October, Paul phoned James and said that he would not accept less than £750 for the autographed blade and that he needed a reply before 15 October. James decided that he would like to buy the blade and, in order to have a written record; word processed a brief letter to Paul. In the letter, James agreed to pay £750 and asked if the price included the cost of delivery as the blade would not fit in to his car and he had no other way of collecting and transporting it. Although James posted the letter on 9 October, for some reason it did not reach Paul until 14 October. On 12 October a mutual friend, Bharat, phoned James. During the course of this phone conversation, Bharat mentioned that Paul had sold the autographed blade earlier that day on eBay. He said that Paul had got tired of waiting to hear from James and needed the money quickly. Paul had seen a rowing unsuits, which had once been owned by the famous New Zealand rower Eric Murray, advertised for sale at a local auction to be held on 16 October. The advertisement said that the auction was to be “without reserve”. Keen to purchase the unsuits, Paul attended the auction and made a bid for it. No other person made a higher bid and the auctioneer withdrew it from the sale. As Paul had made the highest bid, albeit at a relatively low price, he was furious and wants to know what, if any, cause of action he may take against the auctioneer and/or the owner of the unsuits.

Advise Paul, explaining his legal position.

You will need to show you know and understand the law relating to contract formation and, in particular, offer and acceptance and contractual intention.

You will need to do the following: analyse the facts of the question; identify the key issues and relevant legal principles; apply the law to the facts; form a coherent legal argument; and reach a reasoned conclusion in respect of Paul’s legal position. Practical and professional skills you need to demonstrate that you can solve the problem and effectively advise the client and also structure your answer so that the arguments are easy to follow (including the use of sub-headings where appropriate).

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