Q&As

Where a contractual offer is stipulated to be open until a specified date but the offeree signs an ‘acceptance of offer’ after the specified date, will a resulting binding agreement have arisen or was the offer automatically withdrawn and no longer capable of acceptance once the deadline passed?

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Published on LexisPSL on 18/05/2018

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a contractual offer is stipulated to be open until a specified date but the offeree signs an ‘acceptance of offer’ after the specified date, will a resulting binding agreement have arisen or was the offer automatically withdrawn and no longer capable of acceptance once the deadline passed?
  • Time-limited offers
  • Estoppel

We have assumed that the circumstances do not involve the making and acceptance of a Part 36 offer (for which different rules apply).

Time-limited offers

Authority for the proposition that ‘the offer will cease to be open for acceptance once that time limit has expired’ (as stated in Practice Note: Forming enforceable contracts—offer) is provided in Tinn v Hoffmann & Co (1873) 29 LT 271 (not reported by LexisNexis®).

In Tinn v Hoffmann & Co an offer was open until ‘the return of post on the next day.’ There was no answer by return of post the next day and, therefore, it was held that this offer ‘had expired’ (Blackburn J, page 279). The offer was also rejected by a counter offer although the point still remains that the offer expired due to a stipulated time limit for acceptance.

See also the following Commentary:

  1. Lapse of time: Halsbury's Laws of England [247]

  2. Is the offer still open for acceptance?: Common Law Series: The Law of Contract [2.237]

  3. Lapse

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