The and the promise thus given for value is

The issue here is whether the bilateral contracts between Crivendoe
Catering (CC) and Sessex County hospital (SCH) and Crivendoe Catering and
Dougal respectively are legitimate and enforceable. In relation to this, ‘an
offer can be defined as a statement by one party of a willingness to enter into
a contract on stated terms, provided that these terms are, in turn, accepted by
the party or parties to whom the offer is addressed’1.

Furthermore, acceptance can generally be defined as an expression of assent or
an agreement to the terms proposed by the offeror, and the acceptance of any
offer must always be communicated to the offeror hence making it legally
binding. This principle was exemplified in the case Entores vs Miles Far East Corp 19552,
In which it was illustrated that the acceptance of an offer must be
communicated and must be clear and understandable in order to form a contract.

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Lastly, consideration as defined in Currie v Missa 18753
entails a valuable consideration, in the sense of the law, may have the
presence of a profit or benefit being accrued to one party or some significant
loss or detriment being suffered or undertaken by another4. An
agreement is not enough, there must be ‘consideration’ from each party, and an
intention to create legal relations. As seen in the case, the contracts between
Crivendoe Catering and Sessex County Hospital, and Crivendoe Catering and
Dougal respectively are valid contracts as there was a presence of a legitimate
offer, acceptance and enforceable consideration.

 

The following issue is whether there was valid consideration
between Crivendoe Catering and Dougal, when Crivendoe Catering offered £60 to
Dougal to finish the contract on time. Sir Frederick Pollock (1950) in the
principles of contract,5
defined consideration as ‘An act or forbearance of one party, or the promise
thereof, is the price for which the promise of the other is bought, and the
promise thus given for value is enforceable’. Pollock’s definition was approved
by the house of lords in Dunlop Pneumatic
Tyre Co. Ltd v Selfridge and Co. Ltd 19156
, and is regarded as being a more accurate definition of the doctrine of consideration
in the ‘modern commercial contract’7
rather than the nineteenth century concept of consideration which included
benefit and detriment. Furthermore, when an individual promise to perform an
act, which he is already bound to do due to the fact the law has imposed this
obligation on them, then that promise does not amount to sufficient
consideration to support a simple contract.8 The
case Stilk v Myrick 18099
developed this principle, as the claimant in this case was a seaman who was on
a contract to sail a ship from London to the Baltic and back, he was to be paid
£5 for his services. In the course of the voyage, two out of the twelve crew
members deserted the ship; then subsequently the captain made a promise to
divide the wages of the two abandoned crew members to the remaining ones, if
they were able to sail the ship back to London. Eventually, the ship arrived in
London and the captain refused to pay the extra wages. The claimant sought
legal action but the house of lords held that the claimant was already
performing an act he was contractually obliged to do so therefore he had not
provided any consideration for the promise of extra wages and was entitled to
nothing. This is significant as there are two particular situations in which
the law deems consideration to be inefficient, where there is a performance of
an existing obligation; and where there is a promise to pay part of a debt.10 In
contrast to the aforementioned points , The Williams
v Roffey Bros & Nicholls (Contractors) Ltd 199011
case depicts the fact that when an offeror approaches the offeree with new
terms to the offer, this can actually be deemed as valid consideration even if
there was a previous contractual obligation, as ‘it was held that performance
of an existing contractual duty owed to the promisor could constitute good
consideration’. In this case, another principle that was developed is the
practical benefit rule, this is when both parties enjoy some sort of benefit
from the contract. This was fundamentally depicted in the Williams v Roffey
Bros case as the defendants were able to benefit because the flats were
completed and the claimant respectively, as he was able to claim the £575
successfully, after the defendants were held liable to pay the extra money
promised.

 

In relation to the case, under the Stilk v Myrick 180912
rule, there was no valid consideration when Crivendoe Catering offered £60 to
Dougal to make sure he delivered the food on time. So if he was to seek legal
action against Crivendoe Catering, he would not be successful because he was already
performing the act he was contractually obliged to do, this is similar to what
took place under the Stilk v Myrick case as there was no consideration from the
claimant as he was already performing the act he was contractually obliged to
do hence he was entitled to nothing. However, the practical benefit rule can be
applied in this case because Crivendoe catering and Dougal are both benefitting
due to the fact that Dougal was able to deliver the food to Crivendoe catering
on time as requested by CC, and Dougal himself is benefitting as he was getting
an increased payment of £60.

 

In conclusion, it can be seen that there was a breach of
contract by Crivendoe Catering due to their financial struggles as they were
unable to keep paying Dougal the £60, which was one of the binding terms of the
contract. So therefore, Dougal can either sue them under the grounds of breach
of contract or can terminate the contract fully till further notice.

 

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