How can the contract between O and R be oral??? How's this question "deliberately ambiguous on whether the contract is oral or written"? Even if O and R negotiated the sale orally, R signed a 'written "Sale Note"'!
The textbook's answer doesn't bring up the Parol Evidence Rule, but can O plead the Parol Evidence Rule to prove that the contract is written, not oral?
Here's the problem question.
O (original owner) specialises in selling clothes. O has a retail outlet in Bond Street and sells online.
R (rogue) wants to buy a tie for £15. R says he is David Beckham, the famous footballer, whom O knows by name but has never seen. In fact R is impersonating Beckham. R offers O £10 for the tie, which O accepts. O then asks R to sign a written “Sale Note” (stating the price and various terms, including the fact the goods are non-returnable) which R does in the name of Beckham. O, knowing of Beckham’s reputation, agrees to take a cheque which is subsequently dishonoured, so that O is never paid. R sells the tie to BFP for £5. O discovers this when BFP advertises the tie on eBay. O demands that BFP return the tie to O, but BFP refuses.
Here's the relevant part of my textbook's answer.
The issue here is unilateral mistake as to identity. The question is deliberately ambiguous on whether the contract is oral or written. You can argue either way, but must apply appropriate law (Lewis v Averay in the case of an oral contract and Shogun Finance v Hudson in the case of a written contract). The result of the litigation O v. BFP depends on whether the contract is characterized as written or oral.