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Hyde v Wrench

(1840) Beav 334

Overview

The case discusses the issue of counter-offers and their effect on original offers.

Lord Langdale held that a counter-offer constituted a rejection of the original offer and could not thereafter be accepted.

Man making offer with hand outstretched

 

Facts

D offered to sell land to P for £1,200. That offer was rejected. D then offered to sell the land to P for £1,000. P responded by offering to buy the land for £950. D refused to sell at that price whereupon P said he would pay £1,000 for the land. D refused to sell.

Was there a contract?

 

Held

Lord Langdale

No - P's offer to buy for £950 constituted a counter offer; effectively a rejection of the original offer and a new offer. Once rejected, an offer cannot be revived by subsequent acceptance.

Under the circumstances in this bill, I think there exists no valid binding contract between the parties for the purchase of the property. The Defendant offered to sell it for £1000, and if that had been at once unconditionally accepted, there would undoubtedly have been a perfect binding contract; instead of that, the Plaintiff made an offer of his own, to purchase the property for £950, and he thereby rejected the offer previously made by the Defendant. I think that it was not afterwards competent for him to revive the proposal of the Defendant, by tendering an acceptance of it; and that, therefore, there exists no obligation of any sort between the parties; the demurrer must be allowed.