Julie Waters and Cheapskate Film Company

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The scenario, which we have before us consists of many legal contractual principles that I am going to analyze. The first issue we must consider is, whether a valid contract had been made between Julie Waters and Cheapskate Film Company, and what makes a valid contract. Firstly we must establish whether an agreement had existed between the parties, and clearly we can see it had, because one party (the offeror – Cheapskate Film Company) had made an offer and the other party

(the offeree – Julie Waters) had accepted it. And so a valid contract had been formed on the basis of the classical analysis approach that an Offer + Acceptance = Agreement. Now that we have acknowledged an agreement had been made, we can now move on to whether Julie Waters is entitled to claim from Cheapskate Film Company or not.

Julie Waters I believe is entitled to claim her money from Cheapskate Film Company, this being because using the Brodgen v Metropolitan Railway Company (1877) 2 App Case 666 case as a precedent we can see that a valid contract was formed once the company had asked Julie Waters to start filming. We can see from the Brodgen case that they took the acceptance of the contract once Metropolitan Railways had ordered the first batch of stock, or once Brodgen had sent a supply of stock, and they accepted it. So in this case we can take it that a valid contract was entered into and that Julie Waters, on her being contacted or contracted to start the making of the film, Cheapskate Film Company had accepted her terms of the contract, regardless of them not reading the terms she provided.

To back up my decision that Cheapskate Film Company owe Julie Waters the rest of the amount I am going to consider another case, Butler Machine Tools Co Ltd v Ex-Cell-O Corporate (England) Ltd [1979] 1 ALL ER 965, also known as the “battle of the forms”… In this case the ‘last shot’ principle was applied, which was established in the Trollope Colls Ltd v Atomic Power Construction Limited [1962 2 ALL ER 1035] case, which was put down by Megan J as:

‘The counter offer kills the original offer.’

If that is the case then the person who wins the “battle of the forms” is the person who last submits the counter-offer, which is accepted by the other party. If we apply this principle to the situation at hand, of Julie Waters and Cheapskate Film Company we see that Julie Waters was the last party to submit a counter-offer and that she is therefore entitled to the extra �50,000.

From utilizing these two cases as a precedent I therefore conclude that Cheapskate Film Company do have a legally binding valid contract with Julie Waters, this being on the terms that Julie Waters had introduced into the contract (counter-offer) and then by the acceptance of Cheapskate Film company from the moment they asked her to begin filming on return of the contract from Julie Waters. And so she is owed the extra money from Cheapskate Film Company.

Now I am going to analyze another contractual principle, which arises the question whether the Police can claim the balance of the monies, which they believe, they are due from Cheapskate Film Company. To do this we have to establish whether there was any consideration to amount to a valid contract because if there wasn’t the contract will not be enforceable. There are a few definitions of what is meant by consideration. The one, which I am going to refer to, is the modern approach. This was summed up by Sir Frederik Pollock (1915) in “Principles of Contract” where he defined consideration as;

“An act or forbearance of one party, or the promise thereof, is the price for which the promise of the other is bought, and promise thus given for value is enforceable”.

This being where one party promises the other to fulfill an obligation in return of a price, and so the price of that promise can be enforceable.

Now that we have established what consideration is, we must now consider whether there was sufficient consideration. The cases which the law finds consideration to be sufficient fall into two categories: the one which affects our situation at hand concerning the Police and Cheapskate Film Company is performance of an existing obligation.

After analyzing the contract between the Police and Cheapskate Film Company, I can see that there is sufficient consideration to amount as a valid contract. This is because the Police are going over and beyond their existing obligation by providing extra police officers to cover Cheapskate’s premiere event, and most importantly because the Police felt fewer numbers of officers would have been adequate. So they have therefore gone beyond their existing obligation on the request of the film company and so Cheapskate owes the Police the �8,000. To prove my point I am going to utilize past cases as a precedent.

The case that I’m going to refer to is Glassbrook Bros v Glamorgan County Council [1925 AC 270]. In this case the courts held that the “the police were under a public duty to protect the premises and they were entitled to exercise their discretion as to the level of protection required”. If the police considered that the premises required no extra police but supplied extra officers on the request of the manager, then that amounted to good and sufficient consideration to support the promise of the manager to pay the extra money. Another case, which has influenced my decision that there is good and sufficient consideration for a legally binding contract is in the Glassbrook case, in which the HOL relied heavily on the decision of England v Davidson (1840) 11 Ad 7 EI 856.

Now I am going to examine the last legal contractual principle, which concerns the situation at hand. This is the doctrine of Promissory Estoppel. Estoppel is a procedure by which a court estops or prevents a person from saying something they would otherwise be allowed to say. Promissory Estoppel applies this procedure where a promise is made to excuse a party from contractual obligations and where applying the law strictly may cause obvious injustice. This principle stems from the case of Central London Property Trust v High Trees House (1947 KB 130), where it was decided that where a promise was made to excuse a party from contractual obligations with legal intent, and it was both intended to be acted upon and was in fact acted upon, the promissory will be stopped from bringing evidence that there was no consideration.

So using the High Trees case as a precedent we can see that from the moment Cheapskate Film Company’s production of ‘WI Girls’ takes off the Police are now entitled to claim the full amount of monies Cheapskate owe them, for going beyond their existing obligation. This because they are now out of financial difficulties and are now in a position to pay off the debt, and as Denning J said in the case of High Trees (obiter): the plaintiffs (Police) are entitled to request full payment from now on (from the moment WI Girls took off). Also on the other hand, if the plaintiffs (Police) should sue for the time the movie company was in financial difficulties (which it was not), then they would be stopped from enforcing payment and it would be inequitable to allow them to go back on a promise on which the defendant (Cheapskate) had relied on in continuing with the contract.

Also in the case of D&C Builders Ltd v Rees [1966 2QB 617], where the plaintiffs (builders) received part of the amount in cheque, sued for the rest. The defendant claimed promissory Estoppel, arguing that in accepting the cheque the builders had agreed to payment of part of debt. The court however, said that the builders had been held to ransom, by being forced to take what they could, and were awarded judgment in their favor. The similar principle applies here, the Police have been held to ransom to accept part of the payment, assuming that Cheapskate Film Company were in financial difficulties. So the �2,000 is all they could get, but as in the Ree’s case the Police are entitled to the rest off the money now, since Cheapskate Film Company are not in financial difficulties and in a position to pay. This was the principle established in High Trees case, which is very important in dealing with the situation at hand

So therefore I conclude by saying that I feel Julie Waters is entitled to claim from Cheapskate Film Company and so is the Police entitled to claim the balance of the monies, which they believe are due. To illustrate my point I feel I have shown why and how I have reached this conclusion by using the past cases as precedents and guidelines.

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