We would need to establish if there was a valid contract formed. As per Lord Wildflower in The Runnymede, an enforceable contract would have to consist of a valid offer and agreement, consideration, an intention to create legal relations and there has to be no vitiating factors. The first issue would be as to whether there was an offer on the advertisement regarding the job of the PR officer. We may dismiss it as an offer and instead it should be merely an invitation to treat.
This was established in the case of
Patricide v Criterion. This is also not similar to the facts of Carla” v Carbolic as there was a promise in return of an award for an act. The second issue would be whether there was an offer made by Jim when he called during the lunch break to mention that he was keen on joining. This may not actually amount to an offer as it is held that an offer has to be sufficient, clear and imperative as per Scammed v Ousted.
Based on the facts where the pays and benefits were not discussed, it is likely to conclude that Jim made no offer. Jessica then made an offer to Jim after the interview.
As for acceptance, Postal rule will not come into effect, as there was no indication by Pie Ling or Jessica that the letter or acceptance is to be mailed but only to be hand delivered. Also, the message that Jim left on Pie lining’s vocalic may not equate to an acceptance, as it is not conveyed – as held in Gibbons v Proctor. It is also known from the fact that there was no indication that the acceptance was to be conveyed by phone or even through vocalic so it would seem unreasonable to impose on Pie Ling the duty. This would not conclude as an acceptance.
So it would be arguable that the vocalic left by Jim did not amount to an acceptance. Thus, real valid acceptance was when Jim signed and emailed the PDF copy to Pie Ling as per stated in the contract. Even though it is not stated whether Pie Ling saw the message, in accordance to the Electronics Transaction Act, the addressee receives the message when the message enters the designated system. An intention to create legal relation is not an issue here as this is an employment contract and it is safe to affirm that there is a definite intention to be legally bound.
As for consideration, it would seem that the consideration would have o move from promises to promise as held in the case of Twaddle v Atkinson. From the facts, an employment contract should have considerable consideration on the side of the employee having to work for the company. This would likely amount to sufficient consideration. However, it can also be argued that there was no good consideration since Jim had lied about his public relations knowledge.
This however, would not be an issue since it was held in Chapel v Nestle Co. That consideration only need to be sufficient and need not be adequate. Thus, a valid contract has been formed. Now as for Jims legal position regarding whether or not could All About Talk Pete Ltd withdraw the offer and deem the contract invalid, we will have to look at whether or not the revocation of offer is valid. Based on the facts, Jim had accepted the offer when he sent the PDF copy to Pie Ling on the 23rd of October 2013.
A revocation of an offer may take place before the acceptance as held in the case of Dickinson v Odds. Also, as per Byrne v Van Teen Woven, it was held that the revocation must be communicated to the offered so that the offered has knowledge of the revocation. Based on the facts given, Pie Ling only called Jim to inform him of the revocation on the 24th of October 2013 which is a day after Jim had accepted the offer. Since the revocation came only after the acceptance, the contract will still be deemed valid.
As for Jessica, since she is only a mere agent to the contract and the contract is between Jim and All About Talk Pete Ltd, she would likely not be able to take any legal actions against Jim. This brings us to All About Talk Pete Lad’s legal position. The company would attempt to invalidate the contract but as previously discussed, there seems to e a valid contract. However, the company may suggest the issue of Illegality and void the contract since Jim lied about having practical knowledge relating to public relations.
However, we can dismiss this as it isn’t a crime to lie and also since Jim did have knowledge of public relations having taken one module of public relations back in school. The company may then bring up the issue of misrepresentation. Now for a misrepresentation, we need to determine a few key issues. Firstly, the representation has to be communicated between the represent and the represents. On the facts this seems to be satisfied. Secondly, the statement made has to be a statement of fact. Jim told Jessica that he does possess knowledge in public relations and thus, this is satisfied as well.
The contentious issue here seems to be whether or not did Jim make a false representation and if he did, did the false representation induced the company into hiring him? As for the inducement, it would seem that being a PR consultancy firm, it would be reasonable to believe that the company was interested to hire only candidates with abundant knowledge in the public relations sector. The fact that Jessica was impressed with Jim because of his school would be irrelevant as it is merely one of the contributing factors.
However, Jim may argue that since the advertisement mentioned only “all SMS graduates” and not “all SMS graduates with Public Relations as their majors” it may be implied that any graduates could apply and the company may not necessary be hiring a candidate with public relations skills. However, it may also be argued that since Jessica had asked about his knowledge in Public Relations, it may be a vital factor in the consideration of his employment. Thus, it would seem that the statement Jim made induced the company into going into a contract.
Lastly, there is the issue of whether the statement made by Jim was misleading. The general rule is that silence or non-disclosure may not be actionable. However, one of the exceptions would be a half-truth statement that is literally true but misleading – Diamond v Wallet. When Jim told Jessica that he had practical public relations knowledge, he very well knew that he had only taken one module and even barely passed it. Then there is also the issue of whether here should be a same standard of practical knowledge from the point of view of the company and of Jims.
Assuming Jim knew that the knowledge in public relations he had was not equivalent to what the company was expecting, then it would have to be a half truth statement and Jim could be liable for misrepresentation. If misrepresentation is established, All About Talk Pete Ltd may seek remedies from the courts. The remedies for misrepresentation would be rescission and/or damages. However, to determine the appropriate remedy, it is to be decided if he misrepresentation was a fraudulent, negligent or innocent one.
The company may want to argue negligent misrepresentation as the burden of proof would be on the represent and the damages awarded would be as if it were fraudulent as per the Misrepresentation Act and the fiction of fraud principle as per Arroyos v Rogers. It was held in the case of Howard Marine v Ogden Engineering that the represent would have to proof both the subjective test of whether he believed his statement to be true and also the objective test of whether there were reasonable grounds for his belief.
If they were to argue fraudulent misrepresentation, the burden of proof would be on them and the standard is very high. The measure of damages would be under the ‘Tort of Deceit’ or ‘Tort of Negligence’ measures. Other various alternative dispute resolutions that Jim and All About Talk Pete Ltd may seek are possibly the negotiation and mediation methods if they do not wish to go to court. Negotiations would require both parties to ‘sit down’ and discuss about resolving the issue amicably. The pros of negotiations would be that it is cost effective as litigation fees are extremely high and not as time consuming s going to the court.
The cons would probably be that negotiations most likely would fail as parties may not be agreeable to terms the other party has set out and hoping to be the ‘Winner” in the situation. For Mediation, it would include a mediator who is a neutral party to the matter that would understand the whole situation and decide on what’s ‘fair and ‘just’ for both parties equally. The pros would be that a neutral party may allow both parties to see the situation from a 3rd party point of view and thus settle the matter amicably and save on the cost.
The cons would also be that both parties may not agree to what the mediator has in mind and as it is not imposing, both parties may have wasted more time and end up with no solutions to the problem.
Cite this Comm law assignment
Comm law assignment. (2018, Jun 06). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comm-law-assignment/