Dickinson v. Dodds


– Dodds (D) agreed to sell land to Dickinson (P), but made him commit by Friday 9 a.m.
– Dickinson heard that Dodds was working with someone else, went over to his house, gave a note of acceptance to his mother-in-law which was staying there too.
o Never reached Dodds because she forgot to give it to him.
– Berry, Dodds’ agent, at 7am on Thursday, showed Dodds the duplicate letter of acceptance, where “Dodds said that it was too late, offer was already done.”
– The appeal court decided it was just an offer to sell, the letter that is…There was no consideration when the offer was accepted.
– Plaintiff thought…
o Having heard and knowing that Dodds was going to sell to someone else, thinking that he could not withdraw his offer as law…”went to his house, gave the offer to his mother-in-law knowing that he had already decided to give it someone else….(P) knew that Dodds had changed his mind…Plaintiff failed to prove any binding contract…

Procedural History

– Court of Appeal, Chancery Division, 1876.
– (lower court) Vice Chancery Bacon ruled in favor of specific performance for the plaintiff.
– Dodds appealed.


– Was the written offer a binding contract if it was accepted by the offeree?


– NO


– A person cannot make an offer binding by accepting the offer, after he/she knows the offer was accepted by someone else prior to the deadline made……Two minds must be in full agreement of an offer being made, and an offer being accepted.
– An offeror is allowed to revoke the contract before it has been accepted…they have the power to do so.
– It’s even for both sides…give the acceptor way to much leverage to decide when he or she wants to accept an offer.


– At the time of the offer, he (D) gave the (P) time to consider the offer.
– It was not official…No meeting of the minds upon acceptance.
– Absurd for someone to try and bind an offer after the object has already been sold.
– They both had the power to retract from the offer before this particular time
– Mutuality of obligation


– Reversed.

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