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   Case summaries      Adams v Lindsell
Adams v Lindsell (1818) 106 ER 250

The defendant wrote to the claimant offering to sell them some wool and asking for a reply 'in the course of post'. The letter was delayed in the post. On receiving the letter the claimant posted a letter of acceptance the same day. However, due to the delay the defendant's had assumed the claimant was not interested in the wool and sold it on to a third party. The claimant sued for breach of contract.


There was a valid contract which came in to existence the moment the letter of acceptance was placed in the post box.

This case established the postal rule. This applies where post is the agreed form of communication between the parties and the letter of acceptance is correctly addressed and carries the right postage stamp. The acceptance then becomes effective when the letter is posted.
Back to lecture outline on offer and acceptance in contract law