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Contract law problem question - Essay Example

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The first step that needs to be considered here is whether there is an agreement between the parties, i.e. between Jayne and Swot Encyclopaedias and secondly between Jayne and her landlord. The second question that will be addressed within the first issue of a valid contract is whether consideration flowed from both sides Another issue that needs discussion is the issue of the detrimental reliance of Jane and whether this would result in the functioning of a promissory estoppel in her favour
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Download file "Contract law problem question" to see previous pages... that even though it may have seemed to Jane that they were entering into a separate valid contract they never actually intended to conclude any such contract and the work done by Jayne was part of the original contract. Jane on the other hand will argue the opposite and claim that this particular trip was not part of the main contract and that this trip was as a result of a separate contract.
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This raises another subsidiary issue here which is not very clear on the facts available. She attended the conference as a part of the terms of her contract in September 2007. It remains ambiguous what the contract says in terms of her discretion is choosing to go to the conference and her entitlement of the bonus or any additional money. We shall not dwelve into this much due to the lack of clear instructions but shall proceed on the assumption that the contract remains silent on these issues.
It is pertinent to mention here that the general rule adopted by the courts is that they will look at the intention of the parties objectively. This was decided in the case of Centrovincial Estates plc v. Merchant Investors Assurance Company Limited [1983]. In this case the claimants let premises to the defendants at a yearly rent of 68,320 but when they received the written acceptance they quickly informed the defendants that they intended 126,000. The courts held that there was a valid contract and that it was contrary to well-established principles that after the acceptance in the way stipulated by the contract, that the claimants turn around and say that they made a mistake which the offeree neither knew nor could reasonably have known when he accepted it. Here, Jayne can argue that while making the representation she could not have reasonably known that SE was making a mistake and that they never intended to make a separate contract. However, critics like Professor Atiyah basing their argument on the case of The Hannah Blumenthal [1983] argue that a subjective approach should be adopted and that without any detriment to the offeree, the courts should not hold this to be a valid contract.

In our situation the idea of detriment to Jayne is questionable. First, it is true that in admitting her son to the Westbrook Academy and paying the first year's fees of 5,000, she had acted to her detriment. The matter that is doubtful is whether she would have done that anyways or was it solely based on the expectation of a bonus of 4,000. The courts will probably also look at the fact that there was a difference of 1,000 between the fees and the bonus. But this is an evidential matter.

The courts adopting an objective approach will look at what the objective man would have done in this situation and implement their own view. The courts will however also look at a subjective view if evidence could be led that Jayne somehow knew that the company was making a mistake or that the money will never be paid to her, this can be done on the pretext of SE's approach with reference to other employees experiences that Jayne knew about or her own previous experiences with SE (Scriven Bros. v. Hindley [1913]).

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