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Lost and Found Dilemma: Contractual Questions in Leila's Story

Leila loses her gold chain and locket. She is very distressed  and places  an advertisment in the local newspaper. Julie who has read the advertisment finds the locket and chain  on her way home from the park. Realizing it is the lost items she goes directly to Leila's  house  and claims the rewards. Leila refuses saying one should have telephoned first.

Leila seeks one advice

a. Is there a binding contract between Leila and Julie?

b. Would the answer be different if Julie had not read  the advertisement and is then told about the reward by April after she has found  and returned  the locket and chain?


Answer 1

I would answer the question by using the IRAC method.

Relevant Facts

·         In the event of losing gold chain and locket Leila had placed an advertisement in the newspaper.

·         The advertisement stated that gold chain has been lost and it also announced a reward of $50 for the one who finds the same and returns at the mentioned address.


The issues which arise from the given facts are as follows:

·         Whether there is a binding contract between Leila and Julie?

·         What would be the situation if Julie had not read the advertisement herself and was informed about the reward later on after she had returned the chain to Leila?

Relevant Legal Provisions

A contract may be defined to be an agreement between two parties or two groups of individuals which contains a promise or set of promises. The parties ought to have intention to be legally bound by such promise or promises. Such an agreement when is enforceable at law is termed to be a contract.

A contract must contain certain essential elements. These include;

·         OFFER

Offer has to be made by a party to the contract. Such offer may be in writing or oral or may also be inferred from the terms of the contract. The person who makes the offer is bound by the offer when the said offer has been accepted by the other party. In order to make an offer binding the terms of the offer must be communicated unambiguously to the other party.

An offer may also be made to the public at large in case a means of accepting the offer has been provided within the terms of the offer. An advertisement brochure which comes through mail is not an offer as there is no means of acceptance of the same provided in the terms of the offer. It is just an invitation to treat. In case we go to the shop or call them up we are making an offer (Cheshire et al., 2002).

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