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Samantha is a high school drama teacher responsible for organising the end-of-year school drama production. This year Samantha wishes to present her own comedy play – ‘Smurfs in Space’. Samantha is responsible for all aspects of the production including costuming, catering and set up. She has been encouraged to access volunteer resources where possible – including the school’s ‘Parents and Friends Association’. Samantha only has two weeks to get it all organised.
Samantha is aware of a 16 year old student - Julie - who has set up her own catering from home project – preparing cakes and sandwiches for school events. Samantha speaks to Julie after class and asks whether she can prepare cakes and sandwiches for 100 people.
Julie says ‘Yes I can. I will need one weeks’ notice and the price/charge will be $5 per person, so $500 in total’. Samantha says ‘I will need to think about it for a day or two.’ Julie says ‘send me a Facebook message if you want me to proceed. I have a Facebook page – Awesome Cakes and Catering – where I take all our orders’. Later that week Samantha sends a text message to Julie’s phone, that says ‘go ahead with the cakes and sandwiches as we discussed’.
Julie uses ingredients out of her parents’ household fridge and cupboard to make the sandwiches and cakes. Julie’s mum Martha asks Julie to pay her back for the ingredients and Julie refuses. Martha contacts Samantha directly and says ‘Julie has used all my ingredients – you need to give me $100 out of the $500 Julie is to be paid to reimburse me’.
Samantha also needs costumes so she looks online and finds a website for ‘Outrageous Costumes’. She sends an email to Dave saying she needs three Smurf space suits, with extra silver and blue. Dave writes an email back saying that he can do this for her – he just needs to know the size of the costumes required. Dave also writes ‘Silver and Blue material is extra expensive. I rarely use it and will have to order it in specially’. Samantha immediately writes back and says ‘please go ahead and order the material – I will provide the measurements the week before the production’. Samantha also writes ‘we don’t have much time to get this all organised’. One week later Dave rings Samantha and leaves her a message, saying he has received the material, and unless he hears back from her, he will go ahead and start making the costumes. Samantha hears the message but ignores it, as a parent from the ‘Parents & Friends Association’ has offered to make the costumes for free. Two days before the school production, Samantha remembers she hasn’t spoken to Dave and rings him up to cancel the order. Dave is upset as he has nearly finished the costumes and will not be able to reuse them.
On the morning of the play Samantha realises she has no-one to assist with setting up. Samantha sends an email out to all parents saying ‘Attention all Parents – we need some volunteers to help set up for tonight’s play. The first 10 parents to arrive at 12.00 pm today to assist with the set up will receive two free tickets to tonight’s performance.’ Will is the older brother of a student who is performing in the play. Will sees the email and decides he wishes to watch the play. Will is amongst the first 10 people to arrive and assists with the setup of the play.
Is there an enforceable contract between Samantha and Julie?
2. Assuming there is an enforceable contract between Julie and Samantha, does Samantha need to pay $100 to Julie’s mother Martha?
3. Is promissory estoppel relevant to Samantha’s dispute with Dave from ‘Outrageous Costumes’?
4. Is Will entitled to two free tickets for helping set up for the school play?
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called deem acceptance and there is no need that an acceptance must be communicated to an offeror to be valid. When an offer is accepted by varying the terms of offer then it is counter offer and it cancels the offer. But, mere enquiry is not an offer.
If a contract with a minor is established then a minor cannot be sued by can sue under the law of contract. However, the guardian of minor can sue only on the terms of the contract and not beyond that.
Thus, all the elements, that is, agreement, intention, capacity and consideration make a binding contact amid an offeror and the offeree. Further, there is also an important principle that needs to be studied in the present scenario. The same is the rule of promissory estoppel.
Promissory estoppel is a situation when one party on the promise made by another party indulges in some act, then, the party who has made the promise cannot go back to his words and must perform his part of the obligation. In order to establish promissory estoppel the basic requirements are:
Julie was a 16 year old girl who has set up her own catering from home and prepares cakes and sandwiches for school events.
Samantha enquired whether Julie can make cakes/sandwiches for 100 people. Julie replied to the query of Samantha and requires one week time for the preparation and quoted $500 for 100 people. Thus, an offer was made by Julie after clarifying to the query of Samantha.
However, Samantha took time to think and was asked by Julie to drop the acceptance on her Facebook message if she wants to proceed. Thus, a specific mode of acceptance was provided by Julie. But, Samantha text Julie to proceed with the cakes and sandwiches as discussed amid them. As per Manchester DiocesanCouncil for Education case, mere deviation in the mode of acceptance will not make an acceptance invalid. Thus, even a text by Samantha is a valid acceptance and is binding upon the parties.
However, the contract that was made amid Samantha and Julie is not valid because a contract was made by Samantha with a minor Julie was 16 years old). A contract with minor is voidable unless and until the same is for the necessity or are beneficial contracts for employment. But, as Julie took all the ingredients to prepare her cakes/sandwiches from her mum thus no exception lies in the present case as there was no necessity nor was there any employment.
So there cannot be any contract amid Samantha and Julie,
If it is assumed that a valid contract is made amid Samantha and Julie, then the mum of Julie can sue on behalf of Julie.
However, she cannot sue Samantha for a consideration for an existing duty. Julie has to supply cakes/sandwiches for $ 500. The mum of Julie now sought extra $100 for a task which was already in process. There is no new duty which was imposed. Thus, in such situation, no extra $100 can be reimbursed by the mother of Julie from Samantha.
Samantha requires few costume and thus she send an email to Dave specifying that she requires 3 Smurf space suits, with extra silver and blue. Dave agreed for the same but specifies that the silver and blue material is extra expensive and he hardly orders the same. However, Samantha promises that she will pay for the same and Dave should order for the expensive material.
On the promise made by Samantha, Dave has ordered the material he also informed regarding the same to Samantha.
It is submitted that Dave has acted only on the promise made by Samantha and has indulged himself into an act. It is only on the reliance made by Samantha that Dave has order the material. Thus, now, Samantha cannot go back on her words and is estopped from doing the same.
Thus, there is a promissory estoppel amid the two and Samantha has to perform her part of the promise.
Samantha through email has made an offer to all parents wherein she invited volunteers to help and first 10 parents to arrive at 12:00 PM will receive 2 free tickets of the performance.
It is submitted that a unilateral offer was made by Samantha to all parents and the desired act of acceptance was also provided. Will was the older brother of a student and after getting aware of the offer, he was amongst the first 10 people to arrive.
However, the offer was made only to parents and the acceptances are valid only when the same is performed by the parents only.
Thus, the actions by Will has no relevance is not a valid acceptance.
So there is no contract amid Samantha and Will.
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