Harvey v. Facey – Case Brief

Harvey v. Facey, [1893] A.C. 552. (Privy Council of Jamaica)

Facts: Facey (D) was in negotiations with the Mayor and Council of Kingston regarding the sale of his store. Harvey (P) sent Facey a telegram stating: “Will you sell us Bumper Hall Pen? Telegraph lowest cash price-answer paid.” On the same day, Facey sent Harvey a reply by telegram stating: “Lowest price for Bumper Hall Pen £900.” Harvey sent Facey another telegram agreeing to purchase the property at the asking price. D refused to sell and P sued for specific performance and an injunction to prevent Kingston from taking the property. The trial court dismissed on the grounds that an enforceable contract had not been formed and P appealed. The Supreme Court of Jamaica reversed and D appealed.

Issue: Is a statement of the minimum price at which a seller would sell an offer?

Holding and Rule: No. A mere statement of the minimum selling price is an invitation to treat and not an offer to sell.

The court held that by replying to P’s question regarding the lowest price of the property, D did not make an affirmative answer to the first question regarding his willingness to sell. The court held that D had made an invitation to trade and not an offer.

Disposition: Reversed, judgment of trial court restored.

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