What you need to know about contracts
It is often said that prevention is better than a cure and this could not be more true when it comes to contracts. If a contract is not place or drafted incorrectly, then any disagreements which may arise as to what has been agreed could be left unresolved or worse still end up costing significant sums in Court to resolve.
When considering contracts, there are a few key points to bear in mind.
Whatever the contract, money will be involved! It is important to specify the details in relation to prices, costs and payment involved. This may sound like an obvious point, but I often see contracts which do not address whether VAT or any other customs or duties apply. If payments are to be staged or made in instalments, this should be set out clearly including details of how much and when. It is key to be as specific as possible to ensure that there is no misunderstanding.
Misunderstandings can also arise when one party thinks that the other party will be responsible and the other party thinks that the first party will be responsible. If terms are not recorded it is easy for this to happen. The best way to avoid these misunderstandings is to set out each party’s obligations clearly.
Sometimes things can go wrong and a breach will occur. If you are a performing party under the contract, then you will want to ensure that your liability is limited in the event something goes wrong. The law doesn’t allow certain exclusions or limitations such as liability in respect of death or personal injury or in respect of fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation. However, monetary limits for breaches can be usually be set and is worth considering.
Incorporation of terms is the biggest risk. It can be detrimental to a business if it transpires that its terms have not been correctly incorporated or if an agreement has not been validly executed. If the agreement requires signing by all parties then it is a must that each party signs and that the agreement is dated. This is another obvious point, but can be easily missed in the busyness of business. During the course of negotiations each party will want their terms and conditions. It is vital to identify precisely when the contract is determined as this will determine whose terms have been incorporated.
If you have require a contract to be prepared or have been presented with a contract and would like a legal review, please contact David Dees on 01908 662277.
To find out more, please contact David Dees on 01908 662277.