Friday, December 14, 2012

Dickinson v Dodds case brief

Dickinson v Dodds

F: defendant gave written offer to plaintiff to sell a house. Offer made on 10 june and was “to be left open until 12 June”. On 11 June, the def sold the house to someone else, the same evening a 4
th party acting for the plaintiff, told the plaintiff of the sale. On the morning of 12 June, the plaintiff hands the defendant a formal letter of acceptance. Plaintiff then claims specific performance of the agreement.

Issue: is the promise to keep the offer open a nudum pactum?
Was it valid for the promise to be withdrawn before the deadline?

Rule: nudum pactum: without consideration and could be withdrawn at any time by the offeror before this deadline
  • No. An open offer to sell terminates when the offeree learns that the offeror has already agreed to sell to someone else.
The court stated that since Dickinson knew that Dodds’ offer had been implicitly withdrawn when he learned that he had sold the property to someone else, there was no meeting of the minds at the time acceptance was made and therefore a binding contract was not formed
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