Every business wants to avoid litigation and have certainty in its dealings.
Businesses, especially start-ups and smaller businesses, often see legal advice as of little tangible benefit and considerable expense. We consider that the more practical way to look at it is, what are the consequences of not having the right business contracts? They include potential inability to pursue debts owed, litigation, possible cashflow issues and potential liabilities.
Our lawyers will ensure that you have a contract which you understand and know how to use, implement and perhaps vary.
There is little value in having a document that you do not understand. What will happen if a customer asks you about the contract or wants to vary it or breaches it? Such a situation could be very damaging to your business.
Disputes and claims for breach of contract commonly have a party claiming that the contract was varied so as to support his or her case. To avoid such situations and promote certainty, a well drafted clause providing that the written contract represents the entire agreement, and that variations must be agreed by both parties in a specific way can be invaluable.
Putting business agreements in place will repeatedly save your business time and money otherwise wasted on avoidable disputes. Whether it’s a one-off agreement, standard terms of business or agreements between shareholders, we will help you to protect your business.
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A contract is a legally enforceable agreement which gives certain rights and responsibilities to those that agree to their terms.
Contract formation is a practical question and is often determined by analysing the prior negotiations (such as email chains) between the parties.
A brief summary of the essential elements to be established for contract formation in English law is as follows:
- Offer – a specific promise forming the basis of the agreement without further negotiation;
- Acceptance – must be final and communicated to the other party;
- Consideration – a form of payment regardless of type or amount;
- Intention to create legal relations – usually presumed in commercial arrangements and proven through signature by both parties for written agreements; and
- Certainty of terms – the agreement is not vague or lacking in essential terms.
Yes. English law allows for e-signatures of all complexities to be used as the basis for entry into a contract with equal treatment to execution by wet-ink signature, as long as the signatory intends for the e-signature to authenticate the document.
The essential elements of contract formation also apply to terms of business displayed on your website or app. Importantly your customers must be given the opportunity to accept or decline the terms, for example by completing a tick box and clicking a button.
Additional requirements as to the type and amount of information to be included in the terms of business will vary depending on whether you are engaging consumers or businesses.
For further information or a free 15 minute consultation contact us on 0333 3445 548.