Key Case | Fisher v Bell (1961) | Formation of Contract - Invitation to Treat
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Last updated 26 May 2021
Under the ordinary law of contract, the court determined, that the display of an article with a price on it in a shop window is an invitation to treat and therefore not an offer for sale.
Claimant: Fisher (a police officer)
Defendant: Bell (Shop owner)
Facts: A flick knife was exhibited in a shop window with a price tag attached to it, the court had to determine whether this amounted to an invitation to treat or an offer for sale. If the presentation in the window was an offer for sale, the defendants had committed an offence under the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 which prohibited the offering of flick knives for sale. The police sought a prosecution for the offence, but the court used the law of contract to determine the display as an invitation to treat and therefore not an offer for sale. The police officer (Fisher) sought an appeal.
Outcome: Not liable
Legal principle: It is perfectly clear that according to the ordinary law of contract the display of an article with a price on it in a shop window is merely an invitation to treat