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Origin of the Postal Rule - Essay Example

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Name Tutor Course Date Postal Rule Origin of the Postal Rule The foundation of the postal rule can be traced back to the 1800s and is found in the lawful principles of various nations. The postal rule is a concept of contract law. It is an exemption to the general rule, which states that, an acceptance is only formed when communicated directly to the offeror…
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Download file to see previous pages Consequently, a general rule dictating the time of an efficient acceptance was required1. The postal rule was originally invented as an attempt to provide some form of assurance to an offeree acknowledging an offer through post. From the case of Adams v Lindsell [1818] the courts ruled that if the general rule concerning acceptance of an offer is applied to an acceptance sent by post, then an offeree would never truly be certain of the existence of an obligatory deal until the offeror confirms receipt of the letter of acceptance2. The postal rule was applied in this case since post was the singular way of communication. This assignment aims at critically discussing the postal rule its similarities to e-mail and whether it should be expanded to encompass modern modes of communication specially email3. Applicability of Postal Rule to E-mail At its instigation, the post was solely the only means of communication. The introduction of other modes of communication over the years, calls for expansion of the rule to include particularly email since it is the most commonly used method of settling deals. This rule should also extend include e-mail since e-mail is essentially a letter in electronic form. Moreover, at time of inception of the rule, post was expedient and fast; this true for e-mails today hence applicability of the rule to e-mail4. However, it is difficult to classify e-mail as either instantaneous or not since in some cases it may reach the recipient in a matter of seconds and delays are rare. On the other hand, it is common for mails to take longer to reach the recipient hence the postal rule may not stand at this point. Similarities of the Post and Email There are several comparisons between post and e-mail. Firstly, when an e-mail is sent from the sender’s outbox it cannot be recalled and this situation is similar to the postal rule5. Additionally, an e-mail is a digital comparable of a letter sent via post. All usual functions of postal mail happen through e-mail like advertising or invitations to treat (Partridge v Crittenden [1968]). Acceptance through e-mail remains unsettled by courts since there still exists uncertainties on the subjects of offer and reception related to the development of e-mail based contracts. In this case, there are different points of acceptance. It could be the moment when thee e-mail departs from the sender’s outbox, the instant it gets into the recipients inbox, when it is collected from the server or when it is read. This is also analogous to the postal rule as it is not clear when an acceptance is made. In the postal rule an acceptance is binding when the acceptor puts it in the mail box for return mail to the offeror not considering whether it reaches him/her. Since the establishment of the postal rule in the 1800s, several other means of communication have come up. This includes telephone, telegraph, email and facsimile. Both the post and email are both used as avenues of communication since the message/information is delivered finally regardless of the time taken to deliver the message. Another similarity is the greeting cards. When email was first introduced, it did not have things like greeting cards. At the time, only the postal service did. Nowadays, greeting cards can be sent via email and may even come with sounds and songs`. In both ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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