Saturday, October 16, 2010


The major objective for the formation of contract will not be complete without offer and acceptance.This shared intentons of the parties involves communication which must come from one party to the other thereby creating legal binding agreement if there is a meeting of the mind by the contracting parties.

One major issue that taking the time of jurist and legal writters is 'THE POSTAL RULE'.
The big question has been when will a contract start counting or when is it enforce?

It is a trite law that when an offer to sell goods is made by post,the reply by post signal the formation of a contract.
Coming from a third world country whereby the communcation mechanisms are near zero,does this same rule applies,should this precident be followed?
Even though it has been held that where an offer 'notice in writting ' to the vendor,the posting of the letter did not conclude the contract of sale.Then,does it originally cancel the meeting of the mind of the contracting parties if the mail never arrive?

I strongly argue that the general postal rule should be sent back for proper legislation or amended so that the contracting world will stop litigating over when,how,if and why.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. nice work udo.. this is a matter that needs considering. some countries may lack to enforce this rule due to their economic position

  3. :)nice work udo! i strongly agree with you!

  4. Udo, you make a fair point. One cannot deny that the postal rule has been in force since the 19th century. As you may know already, the leading authority of Adams v Lindsell (1818) 1 B & Ald 681 which was later confirmed in;
    Dunlop v Higgins (1848) 1 HLC 381 illustrates this.

    Nevertheless, through my own research I have discovered that rather than the courts attempting to 'revise' or 'abolish' the general postal rule itself, they have tended to broaden the 'exceptions' of the rule. For further information regarding this approach, please consider Holwell Secruities Ltd V Hughes [1974] 1 WLR 155 CA. You will see that Russell LJ applied a list of criteria which must be met in order for the postal rule to be applied.

    Perhaps you may also be interested in reading Henthorn v Fraser [1892] 2 Ch 27. Quite an interesting case in which it was held the postal rule should only apply in situations where the involving parties to a contract had contemplated using post to communicate acceptance.

    With e-commerce on the rise, it may also be worth considering whether the postal rule should apply to contracts conducted via e-mail and internet. It would seem that most legal eagles or academics rather, disapprove of the postal rule being applied to contracts being concluded by e-mail. However, acceptance communicated via email is valid. The following journalshould send some light on this topic;
    S Hill, 'Flogging a Dead Horse-The Postal Acceptance Rule and Email' (2001) 17 Journal of Contract Law 151.

    Hope you find it all interesting!

  5. p.s My research was based mainly from the text; Ewan McKendrick's Contract Law, text, cases and materials (3rd edition) as well as Contract Law Law Cards. Westlaw was also helpful for quick access to the journal. All were very helpful in preparation for my exam last year!