Adams v Lindsell: KBD 5 Jun 1818

No Contract by Post until Acceptance Received

The defendant sent his offer of wool for sale to the plaintiff by post. The plaintiff’s acceptance was at first misdirected. Before receiving the reply the defendant had sold the wool elsewhere, but this was only after he would have received the acceptance in the normal course of post. The buyer claimed he had accepted the offer.
Held: The offer had not been accepted, and there was no contract.
Lord Ellenborough said: ‘the defendants who have proposed by letter to sell this wool, are not to be held liable, even though it be now admitted that the answer did not come back in due course of post. Till the plaintiffs’ answer was actually received, there could be no binding contract between the parties; and before then, the defendants had retracted their offer, by selling the wool to other persons.’

Lord Ellenborough
(1818) 1 B and Ald 681, [1818] EngR 497, (1818) 106 ER 250
Bailii, Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedWilson v Truelove ChD 25-Mar-2003
The claimants requested a declaration that an option to repurchase land was void under the 1964 Act.
Held: The option to repurchase land was prima facie void. The right arose on the coming into existence of the agreement, or at the latest on . .
CitedFour Seasons Holdings Incorporated v Brownlie SC 19-Dec-2017
The claimant and her family were in a car crash while on holiday in Egypt. The claimant’s husband and his daughter died. The holiday had been booked in England and the car excursion booked in advance from England. The hotel operator was incorporated . .
CitedEntores Ltd v Miles Far East Corporation CA 1955
The plaintiff traded from London, and telexed an offer to purchase cathodes to a company in Holland, who signified their acceptance by return, again by telex. Entores later wanted to sue the defendant, the parent company of the Dutch party. It was . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.194832