Contract Law: Seminar 1
October 25- 2018
Henthorn v Fraser  2 Ch 27
(i) What are the relevant facts of the case?
An oﬀer was sent by post from the secretary requesting acceptance of
$750 pounds for the property within 14 days.
The oﬀer was withdrawn the following day by way of mail, before
postal acceptance was received; however the acceptance had already
been posted by his Solicitor the same day at 3:50pm as withdrawal
(ii) What was the outcome?
The outcome of the case was an acceptance was posted and
therefore there was a binding and legal contract.
(iii) According to the defendants, when was the plaintiﬀ's
It was complete when it was communicated the following morning,
since it had arrived the oﬃce at 8:30pm after it was closed.
(iv) On what basis was it argued that Dunlop v Higgins could be
It could be distinguished because both parties in that case had an
understanding that an answer should be sent by post.
These and the other circumstances to which I have alluded, in my
opinion, warrant the inference that both parties contemplated that
a letter sent by post was a mode by which the acceptance might
be communicated. (ratio)
(v) According to Lord Herschell, why could the defendant not rely
on the decision in Dickinson v Dodds?
In that case, however, the plaintiﬀ knew of the subsequent sale before
he accepted the oﬀer, which, in his judgment, distinguishes it entirely
from the present case. For that reason he has given, he thinks the
judgment must be reversed and the usual decree for specific
(vi) According to Lord Herschell, when will the postal rule apply to
a posted acceptance? It will apply as soon as its posted.
(vii) What is the position if the postal rule is held not to apply to a
posted acceptance? The position is that the withdrawal would
precede the acceptance and therefore there would be no contract.
2. Hartog v Colin & Shields  3 All ER 566 and then try to answer
the following questions:
(i) On what basis was the plaintiﬀ buyer claiming damages?
He claimed loss of profit, or, in the alternative, the diﬀerence between the
contract price and the market price at the time of the breach.
(ii) Did the plaintiﬀ's claim succeed?
The judge found in Colin & Shields’ favour on the grounds that the plaintiﬀ
must have realized the defendants’ error, which, as it concerned a term of
the contract, rendered the contract void.
(iii) Which of the following best fits the court's conclusion: (a) there
was a contract based on prices per pound; (b) there was a contract
based on prices per piece; (c) there was no contract; (d) there was no
contract based on prices per pound?
(C) there was no contract
(iv) Which of the following best fits the court's conclusion:
(a) the plaintiﬀ had not realised the defendants' mistake;
(b) the plaintiﬀ could not have realised the defendants' mistake; (c) the
plaintiﬀ should have realised the defendants' mistake; (d) ...