Case law analysis using IRAC
Issue: In the present case, the legal issue that needs to be discussed is if Outback burgers have created a legally enforceable contract with Gordon and Sam. For this purpose, it has to be seen if both of them have entered into a valid contract with Outback burgers and if such contract can be legally enforced and consequently, they are in a position to claim the Toyota Land Cruisers from Outback Burgers. This issue arises due to an error made by the printer. Therefore, the effect of this error on the agreement also needs to be examined. Similarly, a lot of other people have also discovered the winning tickets on the scratch tickets and therefore they are also claiming the Toyota Land Cruiser’s. Another fact that needs to be mentioned in this regard is that for the purpose of showing his sincerity in making the offer, Outback Burgers had purchased a Toyota Land Cruiser car that was going to be given as a prize to the person who was the winner of the scheme.
Rule: the purpose behind the law of contract is to reinforce the promises made by the parties. Therefore, it is worth mentioning in this regard that all the promises that have been made by the parties are not enforceable by the law. In order to enforce an agreement, the court has to consider if all the elements that are necessary for the creation of a valid contract are present or not. Hence, if all the essential elements are present, it is considered by the law that the agreement is legally enforceable as a valid contract has been created (Graw, 2011). In order to deal with the present issue, it is necessary that the essential elements which make an agreement legally enforceable should be discussed briefly. The first such element is an offer. Therefore one party has made an offer to the other. At this point, an offer needs to be distinguished from an invitation to treat. The invitation to treat is different from an offer, as it is made with a view to invite offers from the other parties (Carter, 2012). The other party is required to accept the offer unconditionally. In case any new terms are mentioned by the other party while accepting the offer, the acceptance is not valid (Seddon, Bigwood and Ellinghaus 2012). It amounts to a counter offer (Dickinson v Dodds, 1876). The law provides that when a party has made a counter offer, it is considered that the original offer is revoked, and it is no longer available for acceptance by the other party. As a result in such a case the other party is not allowed to accept the original offer later on. Apart from the elements of offer and acceptance, there is also a need for valid and lawful consideration. The law does not require that the consideration should be sufficient. However it should be something of value. The result is that generally the courts do not go into the issue of adequacy of consideration (Currie v Misa, 1875). The only requirement in this regard is that the consideration should be lawful. Similarly, the law also provides that was consideration does not act as a valid consideration.
Among other requirements of a valid contract is the intention on the part of the parties that they’re going to enter a legal relationship. In the same way, it is also necessary that the parties to the agreement should have the legal capacity to form a contract. The law also provides that an illegal contract or a contract that is against public policy cannot be enforced by the law. Another relevant provision of the law of contract is that the consent of the parties to the agreement should be free and it should not be affected by factors like misrepresentation, mistake or undue influence.
As stated above, an offer can be described as the intimation regarding the willingness of the party to enter legally enforceable contract. At the same time, offer also describes the terms of the agreement on which it is going to be created in case the offer has been accepted by the other party to whom it was made (Clarke and Clarke, 2012). But in this regard, it is provided by the law that an offer can be addressed to a particular person or a group of persons or even to the whole world. The leading case that deals with an offer made to the world at large is Carlill v . Carbolic Smoke Ball Co Ltd., (1893). The brief facts of this case are that the company made an offer according to which a prize was going to be given to any person who caught influenza after using the smoke balls of the company. Mrs. Carlill saw these advertisements. She purchased the smoke balls and used them according to the instructions given by the company. However, she still caught influenza. As a result, she claimed the prize money from the company. However, the company said that it was not serious regarding the offer, and therefore it does not amount to a contract between the parties. But the court rejected this argument of the company. It was held by the court that a legally enforceable contract has been created between the parties.
The reasoning of the court was that the advertisements that have been issued by the company can be considered as a unilateral offer. This offer was open for the whole world to accept. However, the offer can be accepted only by the person who fulfilled the conditions that have been mentioned in the advertisement regarding the use of smoke balls. Moreover, it was also stated by the court that the purchase of these smoke balls or even the use of these balls can be considered as good consideration in case of this contract. These are considered as a detriment that was suffered by the other party, on account of the claim made by the company in its advertisements. At the same time, the purchasers of these smoke balls, who had purchased them by relying on the advertisements, provided a clear benefit to the company. The court also noted the fact that the intention of the company to enter into a legally enforceable contract can be seen from the fact that the company had deposited the sum of 1000 pounds in the bank for giving as prize money.
Under these circumstances, it was held by the court that the advertisements of the company can be considered as an offer that has been made to the world at large. The court stated that it cannot be considered as a mere sales puff as the company had claimed due to the reason that in order to show its seriousness regarding the offer, the company had already deposited 1000 pounds in the bank. The court further stated that in the present case, it was not necessary to communicate acceptance. The reason was that the conduct of the people amounted to their intention of accepting the offer and entering into a contract with the company. Regarding the vagueness that was present in the terms of the contract stated in the advertisements, these were not considered as an insurmountable obstacle. Consequently, it was held that consideration has been provided by Mrs. Carlill regarding the contract in return of the offer made by the company. This research was based on the fact that while an advantage was available to the company in the form of additional sales as a result of the advertisement, the people have also suffered a ‘distinct inconvenience’ by using the smoke balls as mentioned in the advertisement.
Another important provision of the law of content that is relevant in this case is that the consent of the parties can be affected by mistake, false statement, undue influence or duress. In this regard there are only few types of mistakes due to which a contract becomes our enforceable. Hence, the law requires that the mistake affecting the consent of the parties should be of the type that goes to the root of the contract. For instance, regarding your contract related to the sale of a car that was assumed by both the parties to exist, but the reality was that the car was already destroyed in an accident, the contract cannot be enforced by the law. However, if the mistake on the part of the parties was related with the model of the car, the contract would be legally enforceable in such a case. Similarly, in cases involving written document, where the document has been signed by mistake by a party under the impression that the document relates to something else, in such a case the party that has signed the document will not be bound. But if the party has signed the document being aware of the fact that it was the contract, but failed to read its terms and conditions, the person will be bound by the contract. The plea of mistakes will not be available in such a case.
Application of Case Law
Application: In this case, Outback Burgers issued an advertisement. It was mentioned in this advertisement that by collecting 50 coupons, the consumers can get a scratch ticket. The grand prize that was going to be given by the company was Toyota Land Cruiser. This advertisement was also seen by George. He purchase 50 double wombat burgers. However often eating these burgers, he had to be hospitalized. While he was in hospital, it was announced by Outback Burgers that the company had stopped its promotion scheme and is not going to honor the claims made by the consumers regarding the prize. George comes to know regarding the cancellation of the offer from the nurses in the hospital. Still, he decides to claim the prize of Toyota Land Cruiser as he was under the impression that he had not officially hard about the termination of the offer.
Another case is of Sam Spectacular. He had collected 100 coupons from the boxes that have been discarded by the company. He exchanged these coupons for two scratch tickets. He won a grand prize of Land Cruisers on both the tickets. He also decides to claim the prize and goes to the office of the company. However, he sees that as a result of the mistakes made by the printer, faulty scratch tickets have been added in the promotion and the result was that the tickets were null and void. By applying the above-mentioned principles of the law of contract, an often can be accepted only before it has been revoked.
The law also provides that an offer can be made to the world at large. However, in such a case only the person who has fulfilled the conditions that have been mentioned in the offer is considered to have accepted the offer.
By applying the above-mentioned rules to the facts of this case, it can be concluded in this case that George fulfilled the conditions that have been mentioned by Outback Burgers in its advertisements. As a result, it can be concluded that a valid contract was formed between the parties. Moreover, the seriousness of the company in making the offer can be seen from the fact that it had already purchased a Land Cruiser. That was going to be given as prize to the winner. However, it needs to be noted that in this case the mistake made by the printer is not of the nature that goes to the root of the contract. As a result, it can be stated that Outback Burgers is bound to give Land Cruiser to George.
On the other hand, in case of Sam it needs to be noted that the offer was made only to the persons who purchase the burgers. However, Sam had not purchase the burgers, but he collected the scratch tickets from the discarded boxes of burgers. As a result, in the present case, it cannot be said that the contract was present between Sam and Outback Burgers.