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    Commercial Law Assignment Question Alan is a student of Kaplan Higher Education. He just took unit “Commercial Law” in June 2014 and received a “Credit” Grade for the unit. Whilst tidying up his book shelves, he decided to sell his textbook “Introduction to Business Law in Singapore”, which was a compulsory textbook used in “Commercial Law”. As he knew of various friends in Kaplan Higher Education, he posted on his Facebook page on 1 Nov 2014, as follows:- “To all my friends who are students enrolling or are enrolled in Kaplan Higher Education. I am selling my textbook “Introduction to Business Law in Singapore”, together with all the notes I took in class. The notes are written in an exercise book and very useful as I obtained a High Distinction for this unit! The selling price is $200.00. If keen, please pay me by 5 Nov 2014.” Bernard is a friend on Alan’s Facebook account. He will be taking the “Commercial Law” unit on 23 Nov 2014 and is very keen to purchase the material from Alan. He immediately posted on Alan’s Facebook wall on 2 Nov 2014:- “I am keen to buy. But can you sell at $150.00?” Charleen is Alan’s younger sister who is taking her GCE “O” levels this year. She saw Alan’s post and was very keen to read up on Business Law. In the morning of 2 Nov 2014, while Alan was still in bed, she told him that she will buy Alan’s textbook for $200.00. Alan merely smiled. He thought that his sister must be mad to read up on Commercial Law at her age. When Charleen asked if she could pass the money to him on 6 Nov 2014, Alan was thinking about his favourite football team’s performance at last weekend’s match and nodded. He then went back to sleep. Damien is Bernard’s friend and is a student at Kaplan Higher Education. He is not on Alan’s Facebook account but know who Alan is. He heard about Alan’s offer from Bernard and is keen to buy the material as he wants to do well for the unit. After obtaining Alan’s handphone number from Bernard, he sent Alan an sms:- “Alan, this is Damien. I am keen to buy your Commercial Law material. Can I pass the money to you in Kaplan Higher Education on 4 Nov 2014?” On 3 Nov 2014, Alan replied to Bernard’s post on his Facebook wall:- “Sorry. I am selling at $200.00. In fact, there is an offer already.” On the night of 3 Nov 2014, after much consideration, Bernard decided to buy Alan’s material. However, he would be going overseas for 3 days and could not meet up with Alan. As such, he put $200.00 cash in an envelope and posted to Alan in the morning of 4 Nov 2014. He then informed Alan to look out for the cash. Alan received the cash at 5:00pm on 5 Nov 2014 when he open the letterbox.” In the evening of 4 Nov 2014, Damien saw Alan in Kaplan Higher Education. He ran up to him and passed him $200.00 cash and said that it is payment for his COMMERCIAL LAW material. Alan kept the money and informed that he will pass everything to him on 7 Nov 2014. On 6 Nov 2014, after receiving her pocket money, Charleen left $200.00 on Alan’s table. On 7 Nov 2014, Alan passed to Bernard his original textbook only. He commented that his notes are written in the textbook. On the same day, he bought the same textbook from a bookshop and passed the textbook, together with his hand-written notes, to Damien. On 23 Nov 2014, both Bernard and Damien realized that the textbook “Introduction to Business Law in Singapore” was issued free-of-charge by Kaplan Higher Education. They are infuriated. Discuss, incorporating your understanding of contract law, the following:- i. Whether a contract was formed. If so, when was it formed and who are the contracting parties. ii. Bernard’s legal position iii. Charleen’s legal position iv. Damien’s legal position v. The various alternative dispute resolution options available and the pros/ cons with these options


Subject Business Pages 10 Style APA


Commercial Law


On many occasions, people enter into contracts even without their knowledge. It is however, important to understand the way contract law operates to make informed choices and to make well-thought agreements (New age publisher, 2014). This paper discusses various issues pertaining to contract law by incorporating different case scenarios. It also deliberates on the alternative dispute resolutions methods as well as pros and cons.

A contract is basically an agreement that leads to obligations that the law recognizes (Cuniberti, 2014). For creation of a contract to have occurred in common law, there needs to be an agreement between the parties involved, there should be a contractual intention, and lastly consideration (Howard Jenkins, 2015). To reach an agreement one party has to make an offer that the other party needs to accept. In most cases courts come into play by applying an objective test in deciding whether the two parties made an agreement or not (Michalowski, 2015).

In these cases, it is evident that a contract was formed between Alan and the other parties. There is an agreement that was made between Allan and the students that had interest in buying the book. Alan made an offer to sell his textbook through his Facebook posting. This offer was made on November 1, 2014. He as well quoted the price at which he was to sell the book and even the last date to make payment which was by November 5, 2014. The contracting parties included Alan, Bernard, Charleen, and Damien.

In this case, after Alan making the offer, Charleen, Bernard and Damien accepted the same. When Alan made the offer, he also provided specified terms with the intention that they were to be binding the moment the people it was addressed to accepted the same. For instance, in this case, the terms were that the book was to be sold at $200 by November 4, 2014. Furthermore, the offer was intended to reach a large group of people because it was done through facebook. In the case, there was contractual intent that was bonding. Alan was not inviting another party to make an offer as he already has started that the book was to cost $200. This therefore, was not an invitation to treat.

Bernard legal position

It is also clear that the other parties accepted the offer made. The parties to the agreement agreed to pay the amount stated. Even though earlier on, Bernard bargained for reduction of the price, the offer remained intact. The legal position to these parties will vary across them. In the case of Bernard, it is true that he entered into contract with Alan to purchase the book. The offer was made and he went into agreement. He also shown a contractual intention by showing interest and even proposing a reduction in price to $150. Bernard as well accepted the offer at the moment he posted the money and informed Alan about the cash deposit. In contract law, postal acceptance usually comes into effect the moment the letter of accepted is posted (Katz, 2014). In the case, the letter is delayed or lost to get destroyed, this does not apply. Therefore, the fact that Alan received the money on November 5, 2014, instead of November 4, 2015 as he had stated the contract was still legal. However, if the offer required acceptance to be conveyed in a specified way, it could only have been accepted in that way. Therefore, the moment an offer is accepted in the case of Bernard, the agreement is made and this forms the basis for a contract, however it is not sufficient or enough  in its form to create legal obligations.

Charleen’s legal position

In the case of Charleen, she actually entered into agreement with Alan. The offer was made and accepted but there was no consideration. In common law, promises does not bind as a contract does not exist or unless it is supported by consideration (Mandziuk, 2015). In this case, there is nothing of value that was given after the promise was made. Charleen promised to buy the book and to pay $200 by November 6, 2014. She actually,   paid the money to Alan. However, there was no consideration. Alan did not give her a book. This therefore, indicates that indeed there was no consideration. Payment was made as a consideration but the book was not delivered. This is a good example of informal gratuitous promise that is not viewed as a contract.

Damien’s legal position

 In Damien’s case, there was an agreement reached. Even though, Damien knew about the offer through a friend, he was able to accept the offer that was publicly made through facebook post. There was a consideration as he was able to pay the $200 to Alan at the Kaplan Higher Education on the date agreed. Therefore, this contract was legal and binding. Alan breached the contract by failing to give the book to Damien on the 4th of November. Even though he bought the book, inserted the notes, and gave them to Damien on November 7, 2014, he had gone against the contract.

Alternative dispute resolutions

 Quite a number of ADR methods are available to help solve legal disputes. These methods are impartial, independent, and objective ways of reaching agreement concerning disputes by bringing parties at loggerhead together. The parties communicate with one another to reach consensus. ADR is not binding for the parties involved or concerned unless this is decided by the same parties (Lynch, 2001).  Alternative dispute resolutions methods include meditation, conciliation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation, mooting, and fact-finding methods and med-Arb. These methods are used in different circumstances and situations (Lynch, 2001). They   have pros and cons and therefore, it is important to make a good decision on the most preferred method to use to solve a dispute at hand.

Arbitration is one of the ADR methods that people use to solve conflicts. This is one of the widely used methods of dispute resolution. The arbitrators usually appointed by the parties in a dispute preside over the dispute resolution process (Gur Law Firm, 2013). No state legal body has the mandate of appointing an arbitrator. Some of the pros of using arbitration include flexibility of the procedure as the parties are the ones responsible or expected to control the process. It is also a cost effective way of conflict resolution. The parties may not have to incur huge administration or representation costs. It is also less complex. Other pros are the neutral choice or selection of third parties to adjudicate the disputes (Dominik, 2007). This therefore ensures that experts are selected to engage in the arbitration. The disputes are also solved within a short duration of time compared to other method of solving problems or disputes. There is high level of confidentiality in the process of dispute resolution. The parties are well are able to preserve their relation and reputation because the process is done in a professional way. Some of the cons of using arbitration is lack of consensus on the arbitrators something that may lead to more time expenditure (Lynch, 2001).


In mediation, the mediator is in charge of moderating and ensuring that both parties communicate and solve the dispute in a somber environment. The mediator role is to ensure that there is better communalization with one another. He or she does not get involved in the issues. Therefore, does not direct or guide parties or advice or give binding decisions like those that a judge or an arbitrator does (Dominik, 2007). The mediator will only ask directive questions to the indidvauls or parties involved. In the event there is no resolution at the end of the mediating process, documents and information from the discussions/deliberations is not substantial to be used as evidence in a future or possible lawsuit. The pros of using mediators is that, it helps create a somber or favorite environment ford deliberations (Lynch,  2001). There is no interfering from the mediator in the decision that the parties reach. The cons of using a mediator are high chances of failing to reach an amicable conclusion.


This is yet another widely and popular ADR method that people use to resolve their disputes. In conciliation, an objective third party offers different solutions that may be adopted in relation or according to the situation of the dispute. It also aims to enable parties reach an agreement as per the offers provides from deliberations and negotiations (Dominik, 2007). Parties have the highest opportunity to resolve conflict among them. It is based on the right and rightfulness as well as the dispute history, hence are taken into consideration. The pros of this method are that it is based on law provisions and this ensures that no violation of law takes place. The cons are that it is less flexible method compared to mediation. The method as well may not be effective, especially if the parties in dispute are not ready and willing to resolve their issues.


Negotiation is yet another important and widely ADR method that allows parties in a dispute to share and settle disputes through deliberating and negotiating with one another (Lynch, 2001). The attorneys may attend the negotiations if need arise. There is no intervention of the third party during negotiations. The pro of this method is that it saves cost and time. It also allows parties to explain their point of view without any victimization (Gur Law Firm, 2013). The cons of the method is that it allow every member to obtain or seek of their own benefits and this may lead to unscrupulous methods over others  or acting in a skewed way that favor one party in expense of another.

Early neutral Evaluation

Most people that use this method prefer using it at the beginning of any dispute. The parties concerned provide a decision concerning the procedure appropriate  for the resolution of a conflict through provision of information by an objective and experienced third party .( Dominik,  2007). The pro of this method is that it helps to solve a problem early avoiding escalation of the same. The experts are neutral and experts hence are able to address the resolution in a somber way. Allowing parties in a dispute to provide decisions is a better way of helping breach their differences and create cohesion and unity. The cons of the method may be long period taken to resolve the conflicts (Dominik, 2007).

Fact finding method

This is research method that focuses on clarifying and determining the dispute. In case it is impossible to solve the dispute using this method, complementary roles exists such as mediation and arbitration. The fact finder usually prepares a comprehensive report on negative prospects of conflict resolution the moment the process reaches comprising levels. The pros of the method are that experience attorney is appointed to carry out the role of fact finder (Lawinfo, 2013). The method is also based on research and this helps to ensure that process are carried out well. The con of the method is that is expensive and may take considerable amounts of time to reach a conclusion.


Med-Arb is a method that combines meditation and arbitration. The aims of the method are to resolve disputes through arbitration in case the dispute in question cannot be resolved or managed by mediation. The method is appropriate and recommendable in the case where there is need to seek a rapid resolution of the dispute (Dominik, 2007). The pro of the method is that it helps to solve the problems at hard will easy. Using either of the method provides an assurance of success conflict of dispute resolution. The con of using the method is that it may be a lengthy process of solving a dispute. Furthermore, it may be expensive to use this kind of method because of the process of seeking of the arbitrators and the mediators.

 In conclusion, it is important for companies to understand contract laws. This law is very crucial when parties are reaching agreement and selling goods and services. In the case scenario provide, it is evident that there was formation of a contract between the contractor and the company. The three major aspects that contribute to contracts of law include agreement, constitutional intentional, and consideration. It has also become critical to have awareness about many other alternative dispute resolution methods to ensure that problems are solved amicable. These methods include arbitration, conciliation, Med-Arb, meditation, among many others. The methods are appropriate in different situations and circumstances. Therefore, it becomes prudent to understand the pros and cons of the method before using the same.




Cuniberti, G 2014, ‘ The International Market for Contracts: The Most Attractive Contract Laws,             Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business, Vol: 34,no. 1, pp. 1-5

Dominik, K 2007,  ADR and Mediation: the Experience of French-Speaking Countries, Addis     Abada, 2007

Findlaw, 2015. Contract law. Retrieved from: http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-   contracts-forms/contract-law.html

Gur Law Firm, 2013, Turkey: Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods. Retrieved from:             http://www.mondaq.com/turkey/x/261366/Arbitration+Dispute+Resolution/Alternative+            Dispute+Resolution+Methods

Howard Jenkins, S 2015, ‘Contract Resurrected! Contract Formation: Common Law ~ UCC ~ CISG North Carolina,’ Journal of International Law & Commercial Regulation,  vol. 50,           No. 2, pp. 245-291.

Mandziuk, S 2015, ‘Contract Law and Contract Practice: Bridging the Gap between Legal          Reasoning and Commercial Expectation, by Catherine Mitchell 1’, Osgoode Hall Law      Journal, Vol: 52, p. 660

Michalowski, S 2015, ‘Doing Business with a Bad Actor: How to Draw the Line Between           Legitimate Commercial Activities and Those that Trigger Corporate Complicity          Liability’, Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 50 Issue 3, pp. 403-464.

Katz, A 2014, ‘Reconstructing Contracts, Douglas G. Baird: Contract Law: Rules, Theory, and      Context, Brian H. Bix: Foundational Principles of Contract Law, Melvin A. Eisenberg:            Contract Theory – Who Needs It?university of Chicago Law Review, 81, p. 2043

Lawinfo, 2013, The Different Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution’. Retrieved form:             http://resources.lawinfo.com/civil-litigation/alternative-dispute-resolution/

Lynch, J 2001,  “ADR and Beyond: A Systems Approach to Conflict Management”, Negotiation             Journal, Vol. 17, , p. 213.

New age publisher, 2014.  Laws of contract. Retrieved from:             http://newagepublishers.com/samplechapter/001048.pdf


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