Recent Question/Assignment


Sheldon operates an internet business selling antiquarian books from a store in Melbourne. He advertises widely through his web site and sells to customers around the world.

On 15 May 2012 he published an advertisement on his web site in the following terms


Blackstone’s Commentaries
(First Edition, mint condition)

Three sets available, $5,000 each; first come first served

Code of Hammurabi

Original Persian print version, $1,500,000

Sally, an avid collector of rare books, read this advertisement on 15 May and immediately emailed Sheldon ordering a copy of Blackstone’s commentaries. She was the second person to do so. However, Sheldon responded to her on 18 May saying that due to unprecedented interest in this publication he had decided that it was only fair to invite tenders for each volume, rather than selling them immediately. He then published a request to this effect on his web site on 19 May.

In response to Sheldon’s request for tenders, on 20 May Imogen sent an email to the address shown on the web site submitting a tender of $6,500. Sheldon read Imogen’s email on 22 May and decided to sell one of the volumes to her at that price. Therefore, he wrapped up a volume for her, enclosed an invoice for $6,500, and on 24 May posted it to the postal address shown on Imogen’s email. Unfortunately however, due to an unexpected change in her financial position, on 23 May Imogen decided that she could no longer afford to purchase a copy of the Commentaries and therefore, she again emailed Sheldon saying that she no longer wished to have her tender considered.

Sheldon’s Annual sale also came to the attention of the Auckland Law Library in New Zealand which had for some years been seeking a Persian print version of the Code of Hammurabi. Therefore, with the aid of several donors, it sought to secure the stated sale price. Unfortunately, it was able to raise only $1,400,000 and so wrote to Sheldon on 17 May asking to purchase the Code for this amount. Sheldon replied on 25 May saying that he was willing to sell only for $1,500,000 but that he would give the Library until 30 May to raise the additional $100,000 it required. However, on 27 May an American Library contacted Sheldon about the Code and after frenetic negotiations he sold it to that library for $2,000,000 on 28 May. Although through library channels it had become aware of the American Library’s purchase of Sheldon’s copy of the Code, after contacting new donors, the Auckland Law Library emailed Sheldon on 29 May saying that it now had the $1,500,000 he was asking and that it would pay this amount if he would instead “sell to his ANZAC cousins”.

Due Date: Monday12 April 2013 by 11:59pm AEST
Length: Maximum 2,000 words excluding footnotes
Precent of Final Mark: 40%

Sheldon comes to your law firm for advice. He has the following questions:

1. Does he have a contract with Sally who is now demanding a copy of Blackstone’s Commentaries?

2. Does he have a contract with Imogen now that he has sent her a copy of Blackstone’s Commentaries?

3. Does he have a contract with the Auckland or the American library, both of whom are demanding his copy of the Code?

Your supervising partner asks you to prepare a ‘memo of advice’ for her setting out the legal rights and obligations the parties may have in relation to the facts outlined above. You should provide full reasons for this advice. You may assume that all the facts provided are capable of being established in court. If you believe additional facts are needed in order to provide more complete and accurate advice you should indicate what those facts are and how they would assist in the provision of your advice.

You may also assume there are no special laws (beyond what is covered in this unit) that would apply to the fact situation so provided.

Editable MS Word Document
Word Count: 2251 words including References

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