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Case Study: Redecoration of a New Office Premise

Question:

Discuss about the Comparative and International Environmental Law.

In every legally binding contracts, there must be five essential aspects to make one complete. These aspects include an offer, acceptance, capacity, consideration, and intention to carry out a contract successfully. The case presents a call for quotation for redecoration of a new office premise acquired by Melbourne Builders to Sydney Paintworks Ltd. In the quote, the firm required the work to be completed by 1st March in a letter dated 4th January wherein a terms and condition on the essence of time where the firm is a liberty to terminate a contract not undertaken within the set time.

 A quote is submitted by the paint workers on 6th January and a revised one on 13th January of $7000 and $7800 respectively. Each of the quote bore a term and condition on an allowance of up to 10 day working which does not amount to breach of contract agreeing on a 50 percent pay upfront and the rest on completion. An acceptation of offer of 6th January is offered by the Melbourne builders accepting terms stipulated by the paint company. A $3900 payment requested by the paint firm was sent on 5th February hence beginning the works. Fried (2015) notes that such unclear aspects lead to challenges and possible delays at the time of implementation of contracts. No formal agreement is received from the other side on acceptance of the said deliberations but the contract sets off thus leaving room for a tussle once the time of completion delays.

The contract entails elements of offer and acceptance as well as the terms and conditions of each party working together. The contract entailed an offer, acceptance, written document on one side and discharge by performance. The contract involved an invitation to contract and a counter offer on the price for the work stipulated. However, in its last stage, there was no written agreement between the two where sending of request for deposit and progression of task took place. 

The contract involves terms and conditions on the side of the team seeking for service and the team offering the said service. One side states that time is of essence and any task not completed within the specified time gives the firm offering the work the right to terminate a contract. On the other side, the Paint Works firm has a terms and condition stating While every effort will be made to carry out work within agreed timescales, a delay in completion of up to 10 working days is not to be regarded as a breach of contract.’

Essential Aspects of a Legally Binding Contract

Thus, the terms for the Sydney Paintworks allow for 10 more days to carry out a task on top of the stipulated one in a contract which has to be accepted by the person in need of service. On the other hand, Melbourne Builders consider time as of essence where a contract has to be carried out in time. However, it accepts the offer placed by the firm thus justifying acceptance on the 10 more days as written behind the quotation card. The main contestation in the case arises in the difference on the two which were not solved before the actual implementation of the task began. Therefore, each had to work with the terms stipulated but the practicality could only be affirmed with either party in the case they accepted an offer in written.

The point in the case arises where the Sydney Paintworks employees delayed the task completion due to illness thus leading to the incomplete nature of the paint job by 2nd of March. As a result, Melbourne Builders according to its terms and condition on the essence of time decided on termination of the contract and seek for compensation on the breach of contract. The cause of the delay seems natural and one that does not totally amount to the mistake of the paint firm. In the long run, it delayed the actual completion of the task estimated to have been complete by the 1st of March according to the agreement placed by Melbourne Builders. As a result, the firm sought to terminate the contract on the grounds that the team implementing the task failed to deliver according to its required timings as stipulated in its terms and conditions while seeking for a quote.

The case entails a cross-examination of the terms and conditions and whether the deliberations therein were enforced into law by the elements of the contract. In this, it shall look at the offer and acceptance and whether terms and conditions were made clear to each party as well as the actual signing of the contract as a legal binding (Bayern 2015). In the case, Sydney Paintworks are likely to win and the other party lose on the case. An offer in a contract comes with terms and conditions where each member has to sign and agree before the implementation of a contract.

On one side, the Melbourne Builders accepted the offer placed by Sydney Paintwork and specified on the acceptance of the first quote placed on 6th. Therein was a term and condition on the back of the quote which clearly specified that ‘While every effort will be made to carry out work within agreed timescales, a delay in completion of up to 10 working days is not to be regarded as a breach of contract.’ According to the contract which was perceived to be completed in a weeks’ time from the expected day of completion, the ten days specified had not elapsed thus placing the paint firm on the right side of the law. Since Melbourne Builders read and understood the quote form, it is expected that their acceptance to the offer agrees that an extension of ten days would be comfortable for them (O’Leary 2017).

Terms and Conditions of the Contract

However, there was no formal communication on acceptance of the terms of condition offered by Melbourne Builders to Sydney Paintworks. At no point in the case are we told of an acceptance on the offer placed thus does not hold the other party liable to the terms and conditions expressed. According to Knapp, Crystal and Prince (2016), such issues lead to lack of clarity in contracts which might escalate to legal contestations.  The lack of written communication on the side of the paint works team indicates no legal binding agreement on the terms and condition stipulated by Melbourne Builders. However, the acceptation to offer a part payment amounting to more than half of the amount expected on the 6th Jan offer stipulates agreement to the terms and conditions of offering half of the pay but which coincides with the later offer of $7800 (Tan 2015).        

In the case, breach of contract can only materialize if the Sydney Paintworks made an agreement or acceptance to the counter offer placed by the Melbourne Builders. In the case, we are only informed of Melbourne sending an acceptance to the 6th Jan offer where further communication between the two entities led to an agreement on the stat date of the work and no further agreement on the terms and conditions set. According to O'Sullivan and Hilliard (2016), such a contract can be breached as there is no legal binding holding each party in written. Melbourne would have a win on their side if it countered the terms and condition of the quotation placed by the paint firm and asked for a review or automatic disqualification of the firm (McKendrick 2014). The fact that it accepted and sent back an acceptance puts them on the losing side as their offer was not accepted in written but rather had a conversation leading to the beginning of task.

In another scenario, while seeking compensation for the final work, Sydney Paintworks would be defeated in seeking to enforce full payment for the total of $7800 sent in the second quote. A contract cannot be said to be complete if the terms and conditions were unclear where in the case each party is expected to seek for clarity on issues deemed contestable (Osterland and Rose 2017). While the firm received half of the sum requested in their second quote, the written notice in acceptance of the offer clearly stipulated acceptance of the 6th Jan offer which amounted to $7000.

If an agreement is not reached in such a case, a decline to an offer is expected, a fact that failed to occur in the given case. According to Bodansky (2016), not every provision of a legal instrument necessarily leads to a legal obligation. Each party went on to carry their part of the assignment where one paid for the task and the other began to implement the deliberations. Thus, it is evident that Melbourne Builders will lose the case to Sydney Paintworks on the grounds of lack of a legally binding agreement signed after acceptance and offer stage of a contract (Wilkinson-Ryan and Hoffman 2015). A partial agreement and documentation shall act as a factor of lose for one of the party.

Reference

Bayern, S., 2015. Offer and Acceptance in Modern Contract Law: A Needles Concept. Cal. L. Rev., 103, p.67.

Bodansky, D., 2016. The legal character of the Paris Agreement. Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, 25(2), pp.142-150.

Fried, C., 2015. Contract as promise: A theory of contractual obligation. Oxford University Press, USA.

Knapp, C.L., Crystal, N.M. and Prince, H.G., 2016. Problems in Contract Law: cases and materials. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

McKendrick, E., 2014. Contract law: text, cases, and materials. Oxford University Press (UK).

O’Leary, L., 2017. Introduction. In Employment and Labour Relations Law in the Premier League, NBA and International Rugby Union (pp. 1-18). TMC Asser Press, The Hague.

Osterland, T. and Rose, T., 2017. Correctness of Smart Contracts for Consistency Enforcement. ERCIM NEWS, (110), pp.18-19.

O'Sullivan, J. and Hilliard, J., 2016. The law of contract. Oxford University Press.

Tan, V., 2015. Unfair Contract Terms. Australian Commercial Law, p.380.

Wilkinson-Ryan, T. and Hoffman, D.A., 2015. The common sense of contract formation. Stan. L. Rev., 67, p.1269.

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