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R v Clarke

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R v Clarke

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R v Clarke (1927) 40 CLR 227 is court case decided by the Australian High Court in the law of contract.



Evan Clarke tried to claim the reward of £1000 for giving information that led to the conviction of a murderer, Treffene, of two policemen called Walsh and Pitman, under the Crown Suits Act 1898. A proclamation stated there would be such a reward, which he had seen in May. However, Clarke gave the information in June while he was on trial himself as an accessory for murder. He had originally covered for the murderer, but then had changed his mind and given information. The evidence was reported to be that he gave information to clear himself and not necessarily for the reward. He told the police "exclusively in order to clear himself". It was uncertain whether he was thinking about the reward at the time he provided the information.

Evan Clarke proceeded, by petition of right under the Crown Suits Act 1898, to sue the Crown for £1,000 promised by proclamation for such information as should lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who committed the murders of two police officers, Walsh and Pitman.


The High Court held that Clarke could not claim the reward because it was necessary to act in "reliance on" an offer in order to accept it, and therefore create a contract. Isaacs ACJ and Starke J held that he had not intended to accept the offer. Higgins J interpreted the evidence to say that Clarke had forgotten about the offer of the reward.

Isaacs ACJ and Aniq said the following.

Higgins J agreed and said the following.

Starke J said "the performance of some of the conditions required by the offer also establishes prima facie an acceptance of the offer." But here it was held that the evidence showed, Mr Clarke had not relied on the offer. So a presumption that conduct which appeared to be an acceptance was relying on an offer was displaced.the defendant was ruled not entitled to a government reward of 1000 pounds for information about the murderers of two police officers when at the time the information was given.


R v Clarke Wikipedia