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1 HK_99313_2.ppt. Have we got a contract and when do we have to perform? Presented by Steven Yip/James Yeung 20 June 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "1 HK_99313_2.ppt. Have we got a contract and when do we have to perform? Presented by Steven Yip/James Yeung 20 June 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 HK_99313_2.ppt

2 Have we got a contract and when do we have to perform? Presented by Steven Yip/James Yeung 20 June 2007

3 3 HK_99313_2.ppt Topics Formation of contract Offer Acceptance Intention Consideration Privity of Contract

4 4 HK_99313_2.ppt Offer Expression of willingness to contract on certain terms, made with the intention that it shall become binding as soon as it is accepted by the offeree. Definite and unambiguous Communication of offer to the offeree (eg. Letter, fax, newspaper, email, conduct etc.) Can be withdrawn before acceptance

5 5 HK_99313_2.ppt Offer v Invitation to Treat Invitation to treat is an indication of willingness to negotiate a contract Not an offer Objective test Example: Display Goods Invitation to Tender

6 6 HK_99313_2.ppt Held by Privy Council:No contract. Facey’s telegraph only amounts to a statement of price. Offer to buy the pen was made by Harvey’s 2 nd telegram. Harvey v Facey [1983] Harvey:“Will you sell us Bumper Hall pen? Telegraph lowest price.” Facey:“Lowest cash price for Bumper Hall pen £900.” Harvey:“We agree to buy Bumper Hall pen for the £900 asked by you.”

7 7 HK_99313_2.ppt Invitation to Tender Not an offer binding the employer to accept the lowest tender UNLESS express the wordings are clear to turn the invitation to tender into an offer, eg. lowest tender made

8 8 HK_99313_2.ppt Tender May amount to an offer Normally stipulates a time within which the tender is to remain valid If time is not stipulated, reasonable time to accept is to be implied Costs of tender

9 9 HK_99313_2.ppt Acceptance A final and unqualified expression of assent to the terms of an offer Definite and unambiguous Must be unconditional Must be communicated to offeror

10 10 HK_99313_2.ppt Acceptance ‘Meeting of minds’/’Concurrence of will’? Objective test Can only be accepted by the offeree Silence cannot be construed as acceptance

11 11 HK_99313_2.ppt Conditional Acceptance Not an acceptance Amount to counter-offer No contract is formed until acceptance of counter-offer ‘Mirror image rule’ acceptance in its entirety →

12 12 HK_99313_2.ppt Certainty of Terms Reasonable degree of certainty Approach sensibly and reasonably Custom and trade usage Commercial reality

13 13 HK_99313_2.ppt ‘Back to Back’ Contract Usually in sub-contracts Incorporating main contract terms into sub-contract Difficulty to ascertain extent of incorporation Eg. Scope of work, payment terms

14 14 HK_99313_2.ppt ‘Pay when paid’ clause ‘In the absence of any clear express words to the contrary, those clauses merely provide for the time of payment and that the right to be paid is not dependent upon the party getting paid first? Very high standard for those clauses to be held to be valid ‘Pay if paid’ is usually not enforceable

15 15 HK_99313_2.ppt Contract Price Original contract price will invariably change Variations, missing items etc. Implied promise on the Employer to pay for the work/services on basis of reasonable charge (ie. quantum meruit) Mechanism by which the price for the particular works or services to be rendered can be determined

16 16 HK_99313_2.ppt Intention Intention to create legal relations between themselves Objective test – how reasonable persons would perceive the words, conduct and circumstances If reasonable persons would assume that there was no intention to create legal relation  no contract Presumption that an intention to create legal relationship exists in commercial context Presumption that NO intention to create legal relationship exists in social or family arrangements

17 17 HK_99313_2.ppt Cable & Wireless (Hong Kong) Ltd Staff Association v Hong Kong Telecom International Ltd [2001] The Court held that Look at the terms of the agreement itself If the terms show intention to create legal relationship  Contract If the terms do not provide a clear answer, the Court would look at all the surrounding circumstances Surrounding circumstances include background of entering into the agreement, relationships of parties, nature of the agreement etc

18 18 HK_99313_2.ppt Intention Family arrangements Balfour v Balfour [1919] Merritt v Merritt [1970]

19 19 HK_99313_2.ppt Consideration Consideration is generally expressed as follows: ‘Consideration may be found in an exchange of mutual promises or in an exchange of a promise for an act or forbearance’ Consideration is important because Make it an enforceable contract The law will not enforce gratuitous promise (eg. gift) Only the person who provides consideration can enforce

20 20 HK_99313_2.ppt Types of Consideration Consideration must be executory or executed Executory – Promise to do something in the future is given for another promise to be done in the future Example: Buying a house Executed – When a promise is actually executed, in exchange for another promise to be executed in the future. Example: Finding a dog.

21 21 HK_99313_2.ppt Rules of Consideration Consideration must be referable to the promise Consideration must move from the promisee Consideration must be sufficient, but need not be adequate Consideration must be current Performance of an existing obligation is not enough Performance of public law duty is not consideration Performance of a contractual obligation owed to a third party is good consideration

22 22 HK_99313_2.ppt Referable to the Promise Some kind of connection between the promise and the consideration Inducement to enter into the promise

23 23 HK_99313_2.ppt Move from the Promisee But not necessarily to the Promisor Example: A promised to pay B $1000 if B clean C’s car.

24 24 HK_99313_2.ppt Sufficient, not Adequate Capable of expression in economic terms Some legal value in the eyes of the law No need to be adequate Nominal value can be sufficient consideration Example: $1 to buy a car

25 25 HK_99313_2.ppt Ho Yuk Chu v Shun Hing Refrigerator Air- Conditioning Engineering [2001] The procurement of an award of air-conditioning contract by way of introduction, recommendation and assistance in preparation of tender was found to be valid consideration to support an agreement to pay 7% of the contract sums

26 26 HK_99313_2.ppt White v Bluett (1853) Cessation of complaints are not sufficient consideration No economic value No contract was formed

27 27 HK_99313_2.ppt Current, not Past Past consideration is not good consideration Consideration that was provided before the promise was made = past consideration Requires an exchange of current promises/consideration at the time of the contract

28 28 HK_99313_2.ppt Current, not Past Eastwood v Kenyon (1840) Roscorla v Thomas (1842) Exceptions in Pau On v Lau Yiu Long (1980)(Privy Council) The consideration was at the request of the Promisor Common understanding that the promisee will be rewarded for the performance Consideration is legally enforceable

29 29 HK_99313_2.ppt Not Existing Obligation Performance of existing contractual duty is not good consideration Stilk v Myrick (1809) Exceptions in William v Roffey Bros & Nicholls [1991] Will the promisor gain an advantage arising out of the continuing relationship with the promisee? Example: Risk of Liquidated Damages

30 30 HK_99313_2.ppt Williams v Roffey Bros & Nicholls Exception Roffey sub-contracted the carpentry work to Williams Roffey doubted that Williams would perform his obligation under the contract Roffey promised to pay Williams an extra amount in return (consideration) for a promise that Williams would fulfill his obligation under the contract As a result, Roffey received benefit or avoided a detriment Roffey did not make the promise to pay more under duress form Roffey

31 31 HK_99313_2.ppt UBC (Construction) Limited v Sung Foo Kee Limited [1993] In such circumstances that they were clearly incentives to both the main contractor and subcontractor to make a further arrangement in order to relieve the subcontractor of its financial difficulties and also to ensure that the subcontractor was in a position or was willing to continue with the subcontract works to a reasonable and timely completion

32 32 HK_99313_2.ppt Not Public Law Duty Performance of a public law duty is not good consideration Promisee required to carry out the statutory duty anyway Collins v Godefroy (1831) Subpoena

33 33 HK_99313_2.ppt Partial Satisfaction of Existing Liability Generally not a good consideration Exceptions Changes to the original arrangement (eg. place, mode or time of repayment) to the convenience of the creditor Settlement Agreement?

34 34 HK_99313_2.ppt Settlement Agreement Usually partial satisfaction of debt How to get around the ‘lack of good consideration’ hurdle?

35 35 HK_99313_2.ppt Overcoming a Lack of Consideration Nominal Consideration Example: $1 to settle claims Evidence of consideration By Deed No need for consideration in a deed Deed of Settlement Gratuitous assurance made without consideration is enforceable

36 36 HK_99313_2.ppt Privity of Contract Only the parties to a contract are bound by it and entitled to sue on it A third party cannot enforce a promise made in a contract for its benefit if it is not party to the contract

37 37 HK_99313_2.ppt Privity of Contract (Cond’t) Relationship between privity and consideration: some say consideration and privity are flip sides of the same coin some say consideration and privity are distinct and separate principles Law in Hong Kong is clear: ‘only a person who is a party to a contract can sue on it’ (see Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd endorsed in B+B Construction)

38 38 HK_99313_2.ppt Construction Contracts A sub-contractor cannot sue the employer on the main contract obligations in relation to payment for the works (See Morison, Son & Jones (Hong Kong) Ltd v Yiu Wing Construction Co Ltd [1989] and Shui On Construction Co Ltd v Moon Yik Co [1987]) Employer Main Contractor Sub-Contractor No privity of contract Privity of contract

39 39 HK_99313_2.ppt Insurance Contract The Main Contractor cannot enjoy privity of contract with the subcontractor’s insurers and cannot claim under the insurance policy (see Otis Elevator Company (HK) Limited v Wide Project Engineering & Construction Company Limited [1985]) Main Contractor Sub-Contractor Privity of contractNo privity of contract Insurer Privity of contract

40 40 HK_99313_2.ppt Any Questions?

41 41 HK_99313_2.ppt


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