The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
This Practice Note considers the requirements for a legally binding offer. In so doing, it considers:
what we mean by 'offer'
how to distinguish an offer from an invitation to treat, with relevant common examples
different species of offer, ie offers which are ‘subject to contract’, heads of terms and unilateral contracts
how offers can be terminated
For practical guidance on how an offer can be validly accepted, see Practice Note: Forming contracts—acceptance.
Note: Part 36 settlement offers made under CPR 36 operate outside the general rule of contract law and are governed by the specific regime set out in CPR 36. For guidance on what amounts to a valid Part 36 offer, see Practice Note: Part 36 offers—how to make a valid Part 36 offer.
A legally binding offer has the following elements:
the party making the offer ('the offeror') has the intention, objectively ascertained, that their offer is to become binding once accepted
the party to whom the offer is made ('the offeree') believes the offeror has that intention
An offer is ‘an expression of willingness to contract, made with the intention that it shall become binding upon the person making it, as soon as it is accepted by the person to whom it is addressed’ (Air Transworld v Bombardier).
Whether the offer is
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