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Question (a) The principal of law is that for the formation of an enforceable contract to be considered valid, the requirements

for the element of agreement must be satisfied. A contract must consist of intention, agreement and consideration for it to be legally enforceable. The element that is in question, in regards to the case of Sizzling Soles v EquipU is the existence of agreement between both parties. An agreement can only occur if a valid offer and acceptance is established, which is achieved by examining its compliance with a number of guidelines. For an offer to be legally binding, it must sufficiently state the terms in which the oferror is prepared to accept from the offeree. This must reflect the intended exchange of currency, goods or services as well as the time period in which the offer remains valid. Therefore, an acceptance can only be considered legitimate if it is presented before the offer lapses, in an acceptable form to the offeror. All terms must be agreed upon without negotiation. Upon the provision of a counter-offer with different terms, the original offer is then regarded as void. In the matter of Brinkibon Ltd v Stahag Stahl und Stahlwarenhandelsesllschaft, two parties negotiating a contract, relied upon the use of telexes to communicate an offer and acceptance. As one resided in London and the other in Vienna, the issue at hand was whether the acceptance took effect immediately after it was sent from London, or the instance in which it arrived in Vienna. The court ruled that the acceptance, in this particular case, was only considered valid upon receipt in Vienna on the basis that due to circumstances, intentional or unplanned, the message may not reach the designated recipient immediately. [Sourcebook] In the case of Henthorn v Fraser, both parties were engaged in negotiation for the purchase of a property. Throughout the process, these were communicated in written form and delivered in person. The final offer made to Henthorn by Fraser was for 750 and to be accepted within the period of 14 days. Upon being approached by another party willing to purchase the property at a higher price, the offer made was withdrawn prior to Fraser receiving an acceptance from Henthorn by post but after it was sent. The issue presented to the court was whether the acceptance was legitimate from the moment it was posted and if so, was an agreement formed and legally enforceable. While the court recognised several cases in which acceptance was valid once it was posted, in this particular situation, Henthorns acceptance did not comply with the guidelines as it was not in an acceptable form to the Offeror, who presented and expected offers by hand. [UNLV]

To assess whether Sizzling Soles and EquipU did indeed reach a legally enforceable agreement in relation to the sale of the Italian machinery, we must address whether the offer and the acceptance presented by both parties met the requirements as explored above. As EquipU clearly expressed the terms by stating that the machinery could be purchased for the amount of $50000 and acceptance could be made by email, fax or post by Friday at 5pm, the requirements of a valid offer are satisfied. The issue in question is the validity of acceptance from Sizzling Soles and the three instances in which acceptance was communicated will be examined. The first expression of interest, sent by email was in itself a counter-offer. The Offeree believed that the equipment would only deliver a 15% return as opposed to the stated 20% by the Offeror, hence proposing that the amount of $30000 was a more appropriate asking price. The Law of Contract dictates that once a counter-offer is submitted, the original offer is considered void hence Sizzling Soles from thereafter, could no longer accept the terms in the original offer, once they began negotiations. Sizzling Shoes sent a second expression of acceptance by post on Friday as they reconsidered their position and ultimately decided to agree with the terms of EquipUs offer. In this circumstance, the acceptance is regarded as valid and effective upon it being sent, even though it was understood that it would not be received until after the deadline, on Monday. To ensure that an agreement was formed, Sizzling Shoes also composed an email as a third expression of acceptance ensuring that the Offeror would receive it before the deadline. However, there were problems and it did not reach EquipUs system until 6pm on Friday. This third expression of acceptance cannot be regarded as valid as unlike an expression sent by post, an email must reach the Offerors server for it to establish a legally binding agreement.

It can then be concluded that Sizzling Shoes and EquipU did not reach an agreement and therefore no legally enforceable contract was established. The first expression of interest by Sizzling Shoes, in the form of a counter-offer leads us to conclude that any other expression of acceptance from Sizzling Shoes made afterwards, agreeing to the terms in the offer by EquipU is not considered valid and legally binding. Question (b)

REFERENCES Source book Henthorn v Fraser

List of Legal Authorities Brinkibon Ltd v Stahag Stahl und Stahlwarenhandelgesellschaft Henthorn v Fraser