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LAW5PLS Practical Law For Construction And The Built Environment

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Questions:

Scenario

David is a construction manager and property developer, who also runs a business supplying materials to the building trade, and who requires your advice in the following situation:

Melvyn, a building contractor, wrote by post to David, on 15th April asking: ‘Do you still hold a supply of natural slate roof tiles at £20 each and, if so, could you please supply 250 by 1st September?’
On 25th April, David replied by post: ‘I cannot deliver the order until 15th September due to production problems. I trust this is acceptable.’ Enclosed with the letter was an invoice for 250 roof tiles at £20 each.

Melvyn, on receiving David’s letter and the invoice, telephoned David at 5.30 pm and, not receiving a reply, faxed a message stating that delivery on 15th September would be acceptable, though an earlier delivery would be appreciated if this became possible.

The faxed message was picked up the next morning by a member of staff employed by David who immediately put it in his pocket and forgot about it until later that day.

On the same day Melvyn discovered that he could have the slate roof tiles delivered on 1st September at a cheaper price by another supplier. Melvyn telephoned David and told him that he wished to cancel his order. David, who had just been given the fax by his employee, stated that as far as he was concerned, they had a contract and that he intended to order the slate tiles and deliver them as agreed.

Task

In the form of an essay, advise David whether he has a binding contract with Melvyn illustrating your answer with case law.

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