In English and in Indian Law, an offer can be withdrawn before it is accepted [Dickinson v. Dodd, (1876) 2 Ch. D. 463]

However, in Roman Dutch law, if an offer is made with a stipulation that it shall be kept open, then it cannot be revoked for during the stipulated period, or (if no period is stipulated, it cannot be revoked for a reasonable period (Weeramantry, pages 140-141, 142, para under the head “options”). This difference seems to arise primarily because of the fact, that Roman Dutch law (unlike the common law), does not recognise the need for “consideration” in a contract.

There has emerged the concept of “option” (in Roman Dutch law) which is an offer to keep open, for a definite or indefinite period, an offer that has already been made. In such a case, the offer cannot be withdrawn for the specified period. If the “option” is accepted, then legal consequences may ensue, even if the (substantive) offer is not yet accepted. Thus, a “contract” to keep an offer open is valid (in Roman Dutch law), though there is no consideration for such an undertaking.