A reward is an offer made by the offeror for finding something or for completing a said action etc. In normal contract circumstances, the offer must be made and intention must be announced to the people. The offer must be announced in a clear manner such that the person or persons to whom the offer is communicated cannot misunderstand it to be anything else. The acceptance of the offer must be communicated to the person who made the offer. However, in the case of a reward there is an exception. The exceptional situation is created because the acceptance of the offer made for the reward cannot always be stated in the forefront. Sometimes the action for which the reward is advertised might get completed first before the acceptance is communicated. The reward must still be given out as a contract even if it does not satisfy the offer and acceptance criteria.
The acceptance must be communicated to the offeree and the terms of the acceptance must exactly match the terms of the offer. The agreement must be certain and the acceptance must be indicated clearly, as in the case of the postal rule application in Adams v Lindsell (1818) 106 ER 250. Only under these terms will a contract be concluded as certain. In addition, there should be consideration. Consideration is the promise of something of value in return for something else. This consideration exists automatically in the rewards system, as the reward is indeed something of value. In the advertisement for reward, the consideration need not be great but it must be sufficient enough. Courts normally do not check the adequacy of value in the context of a consideration.
Another significant point to be noted here is that consideration must be executed in the present sense and not the past. A past consideration is something where the promisor made a promise in the past, the promise would be to reward something but in the past situation. For instance, consider the situation of a drowning man. The drowning man cries out for help. Another person jumps in to rescue the drowning man and the drowning man after being rescued promises a reward to the person who rescued him in gratitude for having rescued him. Here the reward being made is past consideration as the rescue act happened first and the promise of a reward on the rescue act happens next, “The concept of past consideration is easy to understand if one bears in mind the requirement that consideration must be the “price” of the other party’s promise: the act of rescue may well be a detriment to the rescuer but it cannot be the price of the rescued person’s promise since that promise has not yet been made”. A past consideration might not be recognized as a consideration at all. Given the nature of these forms of past consideration and present, the UK law leans towards accepting the reward as a form of offer rather than as an invitation to treat. The legal obligation is more strongly established through the reward as offer form. The Chinese perspective however believes in analyzing the intent based on context at all times.