Felthouse Ltd. v. Bindley, 142 E.R. 1037
The plaintiff and his nephew had been negotiating about the sale of a horse owned by the nephew but failed to reach an agreement on the price. The plaintiff then wrote to his nephew, saying "If I hear no more about him, I consider the horse is mine at €30 15s". The nephew did not respond to this message but intended to accept his uncle’s offer. The horse was at an auction, but the nephew informed the auctioneer not to sell the horse as it had already been sold (to his uncle). However, the auctioneer mistakenly sold the horse, and the plaintiff (uncle) instituted the present action against him (the auctioneer) for conversion.
Whether or not the plaintiff owned the horse
The plaintiff did not own the horse.
For the plaintiff to be considered the owner of the horse, which will entitle him to maintain an action against the defendant for conversation, it must be established that his offer was accepted by his nephew. Even though the nephew had it in his mind to accept his uncle’s offer, the fact that he did not communicate such acceptance to him or do anything to bind himself is enough grounds to hold that the nephew did not accept the offer, the property in the horse remained with him, and his uncle was not the owner of the horse because the property in the horse did not pass to him).
Principle in Case:
This case is authority for the principle that acceptance must be communicated clearly to the offeror, and silence does not amount to acceptance.