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Postal rule - Essay Example

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Summary
The postal rule or mailbox rule or postal acceptance rule is an expression used in the common law contract, which helps to establish the timing of an offer and acceptance when mail is considered as a medium of receipt. The common principle states that a contract can only be formed when acceptance is communicated to an offer…
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Postal rule

Its main effect is that the danger of acceptance being lost or delivered late by post is completely placed on the offered. Thus, if the offered is unwilling to accept the risk involved, he can acquire the actual receipt before binding legally. (Cook, 2008)
Acceptance and offer analysis is an age-old approach of contract law, which is used in order to determine whether there is an agreement between two individuals or parties. A number of things can be offered, like a fax, newspaper, letter, email and also conduct as long as it conveys the idea of the offered given in the contract. An invitation to treat is not considered as an offer as it only indicates that a person is willing to discuss a contract.
If the person the offer has been made to rejects it, the offer is destroyed, as it cannot be received in the future. Like in the case of Hyde v. Wrench, in reply to an offer for selling an estate at a definite price, the plaintiff responded with a lower price. Thus, the offer was then refused and when the plaintiff wanted to buy the estate at the former price, they could not as no contract was signed with the initial offer and hence it did not exist. (Undy, 1996)
In revocation of an offer, the offered can revoke the offer even before it has been accepted, but this revocation must be conveyed to the person offered to. If a certain offer has been made to the whole world, like in Carlill's case, the revocation must be in the same form as the offer.
Acceptance is the final expression of agreement to the terms of the offer. There are several rules of acceptance. An acceptance must be conveyed; as before making an acceptance the offer can be withdrawn. Only the person the offer has been offered to can accept the offer. The latter, is not responsible if some other person accepts the offer without his knowledge. If any method of acceptance, like email or post, is specified in the offer, then only those methods can be used which are as effective as the one given. Lastly, like in the Felthouse v. Bindley case, silence cannot be taken as acceptance. The offer is rejected or terminated in case the offered dies. In such case if the offer is still accepted, it remains valid. However, if the person the offer has been made to dies, then the offer becomes invalid. (Hedley, 2006)
In recent times, among the easiest of legal questions asked in the field of contract law is linked with the advances in computer technology and is whether the mailbox rule should be applicable to the most modern and very quickly becoming the most accepted mode of communication - electronic mail or simply email. Today we live in the silicon age and this age has given us the world of the cyberspace. It has been debated over and over again whether postal rule should be applied to email. Both post and email are almost same. An email does not directly reach its destination. Thus, the sender does not have any control over the message. It reaches its destination taking incremental steps just like post. Thus, none of the parties can be blamed for a delay. Therefore, we can see that postal rule can be applied to email. (Lasensky, 2005)
In conclusion, it should be stated that the judges in Brinkibon also noticed that this mode of communica ... Read More
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