Manchester Diocesan Council v Commercial and General Investments

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Last modified: 07/03/18 Author: In-house law team

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Manchester Diocesan Council of Education v Commercial and General Investments Ltd [1969] 3 All ER 1593

Contract – Agreement – Acceptance – Offer – Post – Address – Valid Contract


The complainants, Manchester Diocesan Council of Education, called for tenders relating to property. The defendant, Commercial and General Investments Ltd, submitted a tender offer to buy the property from the complainants. It was stated that the acceptance of tender would be notified to the person by a posted document and to the address that was to be given in the tender. The complainants decided to accept the tender given by the defendants. They sent their acceptance of the tender. However, they sent the document to the defendant’s solicitor and not the address given on the offer. Later on, the complainant sent another acceptance to the defendant’s address detailed on the tender.


The defendants argued that the time they had received the correct acceptance document, the offer had lapsed. They also argued that as the letter was initially sent to the wrong address, this could not count as an agreement. The issue in this case concerned whether there was a contract between the complainant and defendant. There was also a question of if there was a mandatory form of acceptance indicated by the complainants.


The court held that there was no prescribed or mandatory method for acceptance of a tender. If the offeror wanted to create a mandatory acceptance method, this would need to be made clearly and explicitly to the other parties. An equally effective method of acceptance would be enough to form a valid contract.

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