Getting the contract right first time
Pick up a newspaper any day of the week and you’ll see stories about companies and organisations who’ve failed to follow a few simple rules of business, when it comes to making and keeping contracts. Do you remember the Football League’s battle with Carlton over an agreement they (the football league) thought had been made, when in fact the element they were referring to had not been made part of the final contract? The result: a multi-million pound loss for the football league, clubs likely to fold and, for the viewer, less opportunity to see live matches on TV.
Here, Cousins Business Law solicitors provide a step-by-step guide to contracts – follow it and you should avoid losing out. Top tips for handling contracts
- Read them!
- Take advice – and do so early in the process – it’s false economy to avoid calling in the lawyers until things have gone wrong.
- Use a standard template or form of contract that you provide and therefore know well.
- Consider whether the person or organisation you’re dealing with has enough money to cover any problems? If not, get guarantees (from the directors or parent company) - but in writing.
- Make a list of all the points you need to be covered, and check they are.
- Make a note on all the papers before the formal contract “Subject to contract - this is not intended to be a contract document” - put it at the top in large print so you don’t miss the point later.
- When you do sign a formal contract, check it has wording saying it is the whole agreement between you or that it supersedes all previous agreements.
And if things start to go wrong, get specialist advice early. You might be able to sort things out by negotiation or mediation rather that going to court. Many businesses will see the sense of a negotiated compromise, BUT get that in writing too as it is another contract.
Contact Cousins Business Law for advice on this topic.
Article added before March 2008 © Cousins Business Law
This article is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.
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