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Key information

High Court of Australia

Isaacs ACJ
Higgins J
Starke J

- Acceptance in response to offer

Full case


AustraliaCrown v Clarke

(1927) 40 CLR 227



WA Government (Crown) offered a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people responsible for the murder of two police officers. Clarke was arrested in connection with the murders and made a statement to police about the murders which led to the conviction of other men. Clarke was released and subsequently claimed the reward.


Clarke gave information to secure his own release and not in response to the offer for reward (it didn't help him that he admitted this!) – to be effective as an acceptance the information needed to be ‘given in exchange for the offer’. In the course of his judgement Isaacs ACJ stated

‘An offer of £100 to any person who should swim a hundred yards in the harbour on the first day of the year, would be met by voluntarily performing the feat with reference to the offer, but would not in my opinion be satisfied by a person who was accidentally or maliciously thrown overboard on that date and swam the distance simply to save his life, without any thought of the offer.  The offeror might or might not feel morally impelled to give the sum in such a case, but would be under no contractual obligation to do so.’