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In this case, the issue is to determine whether Sam has entered into a valid contract with Violet, who is willing to sell a large white van at a cost of £8,000. Sam, who sees the advertisement on a newspaper, is interested in buying the van, which is an invitation to treat unless it is a unilateral offer (Partridge v Crittenden, 1968). The offer was made when Sam contacts Violet regarding the purchase.

Sam made a counter offer to pay the van at the stated price in 2 installments (Hyde v Wrench, 1840). This rejects the first offer that was made by Violet, but if Violet had agreed to the terms of the counter offer, this could have been a valid contract and Sam could have been obliged to pay the amount as stated. When the first offer was rejected, Sam proposes another offer to pay £6,000, but Violet insists that the best price could be £7,000. Though Violet declines the counter offer of £6,000 made by Sam, the contract becomes valid when Sam asks for time to think about the matter. The offer to think about the matter was accepted by Violet and she agrees not to sell the van for 14 days from the date of the conversation.

Three days later, Sam met the manager who confirmed that the van had been sold. He then made a decision to purchase the van at the best price mentioned by Violet of £7,000. When Sam goes to purchase the van, he gets information that the product has been sold. The element of consideration was affected since Sam bargained for the price and Violet agreed not to sell the van for 14 days from the date of the conversation. Violet made an oral declaration that withholds her from selling the van for 14 days. This gives Sam the right to expect and enforce performance. This makes it a binding contract and the consideration is the inducement to enter into a promise. In this case, Violet breached the terms of the contract. She could have contacted Sam when she entered into the sale contract with the other party. Therefore, Sam should sue Violet for the breach of contract.

However, Sam makes an offer for five additional officers at a price of £2,500 for the evening. The Chief Constable accepts the offer and sends the officers to the party. When contacted the day after, Sam refuses to pay on the grounds that the police officers were on duty. The number considered necessary for security purposes was one and the extra five police officers could have been off duty, but were called to fill the gap needed by Sam. Therefore, the services provided were within the powers of the police constable and not within the scope of public duty, and hence, they were special services  (1831). v GodefreyCollins(1925). In this case, Sam planned a launch party and after discussing with the local police, they tell him that the nature of the party would only require one police officer. The police department is ready to offer one police officer to guard the party for free. In cases where there exists public duty, there is no consideration, and hence, no payment should be made to the public officer Glasbrook Bros v Glamorgan County Council The police department is obliged by law to protect the citizens at no cost

The oral declaration by Sam to pay for the additional officers is essential in to a binding legal agreement. The promise is given by Sam’s agreement to pay £2,500 to the service, and this is an inducement to enter into a promise. Therefore, Sam is liable to pay the police constable Harris v Sheffield United Football Club Ltd (1988). Though the courts condemn the extraction of money by the police officers in the line of duty, the constable must act within his discretion by using the available resources. In Glasbrook Bros v Glamorgan County Council (1925), it was held that where the police go beyond the public duty is enough consideration. Asking for the extra police officers beyond what was seen by the constable amounted to performing beyond the existing duty. Therefore, this is a binding contract and Sam should pay the police officers for the services provided. The police constable can sue for non-performance or damages.


Jones, L. (2013) Introduction To Business Law, 2nd edn., Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Poole, J. (2016) Textbook on contract law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stone, R. (2013) The Modern Law of Contract. Abingdon, UK: Routledge Publishers.


Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (1893) 12 QB 256

Collins v Godefrey (1831) 1 B&Ad 950

Glasbrook Bros v Glamorgan County Council (1925) AC 270

Harris v Sheffield United Football Club Ltd (1988) QB 77

Hyde v Wrench (1840) 3 Beav 334

Partridge v Crittenden (1968) 1 WLR 1204