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Business Corporations Law Of Australia

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Question:

Discuss about the Business Corporations Law of Australia.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction:

There are four major issues which need to be opined on the basis of relevant legal principles.

  • Whether Steve can be held responsible for Tom’s losses.
  • Whether Steve can be sued by Pamela for breaching of contract.
  • Whether Danny and Steve have executed a legally enforceable contract.
  • Whether Steve and Cool It Aircon Ltd have an enforceable contract in place and if the company can press Steve to comply with the contract terms.

Law

The main pre-requisite for a legal contract is the presence of a valid agreement. Such an agreement would typically consist of both offer and acceptance. The offer is communicated by the offeror and the offeree in turn may decide to accept the offer, reject it or propose a counter offer for the offeror. It is imperative that only unconditional acceptance may be termed as a valid acceptance (Carter, 2012).  It is imperative that the acceptance on part of the offeree is communicated to the offeror as mere mental acceptance does not lead to enactment of a contract. It is apparent from the arguments in R v Clarke (1927) case that any acceptance that is communicated to the offeror without the offeree actually intending to communicate the same would not hold value and thus any contract enacted on such basis would be null and void (Lindgren, 2011). It is imperative that the before communication acceptance, the offeree should know about the offer and the specific terms contained therein (Gibson and Fraser, 2014).

A valid agreement can be converted into an enforceable contract with the present of consideration and intention on the part of both parties to be bound in a legal relation. Consideration may be defined as the gain that a promisor gets for making a promise to the promisee (Carter, 2012). In accordance with the relevant contract law provisions, past consideration is not held as a sufficient consideration for enacting present or future contracts. As indicated in the Harrington v Taylor (1945) case, no consideration can be promised for a promise that has been executed by the other party (Davenport and Parker, 2014).

In accordance with common law, if any misrepresentation with regards to a particular factual data which has been made so as to ensure a contractual relationship with the other party, then the party who has defaulted would be held responsible for any losses that the aggrieved party may sustain due to incorrect information being communicated. Further, the aggrieved party has the option of terminating such a contract (Lindgren, 2011).

As per the relevant provision of CCA (Competition and Consumer Act), 2010, with regards to commercial transaction between two parties, the party which carries on commerce must ensure not to carry out any activity which may be termed as deceptive. In accordance to verdict in Google Inc v ACCC (2013), it can be concluded that in the event of default, then as per Section 18 damages can be claimed by the other party (Pathinayake, 2014). Additionally, if any events takes place which essentially is beyond the contracting parties scope and renders the discharge of contractual obligations as impossible, then this results in the contract being declared as frustrated  and would be terminated as evident from the decision taken in the Taylor v Caldwell (1863) (Latimer, 2005).

 

Application

In wake of the above legal principles, the given situations are analyzed as shown below.

A truck has been hired by Tom from Steve. Tom specified that the truck should be able to carry cargo to the tune of 10 tons. Steve assured Tom that he is providing him with a truck that had a load capacity of 12 tons. However, this factual statement made by Steve was false but was made with the intention of entering a legal agreement with Tom. In line with Section 18 of CCA, Tom can claim damages from Steve for the losses caused due to this false information.

Pamela used to water Steve’s garden in his absence. However, it was purely voluntary and the two did not have any agreement regarding the same.  But Steve was impressed with this and thus promises to lend her a car for the weekend trip when she approaches him for help. However, this promise is not enforceable since it is based on past consideration and thus Pamela would not be successful in suing Steve.

A contract was enacted between Steve and Danny as per which Steve agreed to provide him with a Toyota Corolla on rent. The rent and other charges were told by Steve and Danny agreed for the same. However, at the time when Steve promises the availability of Corolla for Danny, he is not aware that the car had already been destroyed. Since the car i.e. the object of the contract has been destroyed, hence the contract would automatically be terminated on account of it being frustrated. Hence, Danny cannot enforce the contract as it has been frustrated for no fault of either party.

There were negotiations between Steve and Trisha (representative of Cool It Aircon Ltd) with regards to purchase of air conditioner. Trisha sent a draft of the contract to Steve and this was put aside by Steve. However, this contract got mixed with the other papers on his desk and he signed by mistake assuming that it is a different document and this signed document was also faxed to the company. It is apparent that Steve had no intentions to enter into contractual relation with the company and the acceptance was communicated by mistake and hence there is no enforceable contract in the given case.

Conclusion

Hence, with regards to the given situation, following conclusions could be drawn.

  • There has been violation of CAA, 2010 and common law by Steve who indulged in misrepresentation and hence Tom can claim damages.
  • Pamela did not have an enforceable contract since it was based on past consideration.
  • The contract became frustrated as the car in question was destroyed which rendered the contract as impossible and hence the contract between Danny and Steve is assumed to be terminated.
  • With regards to purchase of air conditioner, Steve did not have any intention to enforce a contract with Trisha and acceptance was communicated in mistake and hence the contract is null and void.
 

References

Carter, J. (2012), Contract Act in Australia, Sydney: LexisNexis Publications

Davenport, S. and Parker, D. (2014), Business and Law in Australia, Sydney: LexisNexis Publications

Gibson, A. and Fraser, D. (2014), Business Law, Sydney: Pearson Publications

Latimer, P. (2005),  Australian business law, Sydney: CCH Australia

Lindgren, K.E. (2011), Vermeesch and Lindgren's Business Law of Australia, Sydney: LexisNexis Publications

Pathinayake, A. (2014), Commercial and Corporations Law, Sydney: Thomson-Reuters,

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