Harvey v. Facey (1893)


– Letters were written back and forth

  1. Harvey – Will you sell us bumper hall pen? Telegraph lowest price -answer paid.
  2. Facey – Lowest price for bumper hall is $900.
  3. Harvey – We agree to buy bumper hall for the sum of $900 asked by you.
  4. Harvey sued for specific performance of this agreement and for an injunction to restrain the town of Kingston from taking conveyance of the property (Facey was previously engaged in negotiations to sell the land to Kingston)

Procedural History

  • Trial court dismissed the action on the ground that the agreement did not disclose a concluded contract
  • Appealed by plaintiffs, Supreme court of Jamaica reversed the decision
  • Defendant’s appealed to the judicial committee of privy council


  • Was there an explicit offer from Facey to sell the land for $900 to Harvey?


  • No, there was not.


  • An offer CAN NOT be implied by writing. It can only be concrete and sound…The appellants can’t imply that Facey made an offer when he, as a matter of fact, did not make an offer.


  • (from Harvey) 1st question was willingness to sell, 2nd question asks the lowest price.
  • Facey only replied to the second question in regards to the price.
  • Harvey treated his response as an unconditional off to sell them the price named…Only binding aspect is the lowest price in regards to a contract being formed.
  • Agreement could have ONLY been legit if Facey responded to the third telegram from Harvey.


  • Reversed, judgment to the trial court in favor of Harvey is restored.


  • Once again look at the specific language in the contract.

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