Anthony L. Liuzzo and Joseph G. Bonnice define an offer as a proposal made by one party (the offeror) to another person (the offeree) that indicates a willingness to enter into a contract.
The indication of the willingness of parties to enter into a contract may be an expressed offer in writing and contained in letters, newspaper, faxed document, email or is inferred or implied from someone’s behavior or conduct, as long as it communicates the basis on which the offeror is prepared to contract. Whether the offer is expressed or implied it must satisfy certain criteria in order for it to be considered valid. If the offer is not valid it will leave both contracting parties with something which will not be enforced by the courts of law.
An offer is a definite promise to be board on certain specific terms. It must be clear, complete and final. It should not be vague if it is; it will not be enforced since the contract lacks precesion on the terms on which the parties agreed. An offer cannot be vague in Guthing V. Lynn (1831) case where the offeror promised to pay a further sum for a horse if it was “lucky”, this is impossible to ascertain the precise terms on which the parties had agreed. If an apparently vague offer is capable of being made certain by reference to previous dealings between the parties or within the trade or by implying terms, then it will be regarded as certain. This is evident in Hillas and Acros Ltd (1982) case where a contract for the sale of timber described to be a fair specification. The offer was vague, however both contracting parties were persons well acquainted with the timber trade and this was considered by the court in upholding the agreement.
An offer must be directed at some person or group of persons. Although an offer is usually addressed to a specific person it is legally possible to make an offer to a defined or undefined group. In Carlill V. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (1893) case, the company advertised its willingness to...