Thursday, 2 May 2019

Contractual Disputes.

Contractual Disputes.

Contractual disputes are every business owners’ nightmare and at AWB Charlesworth Solicitors we work closely with businesses to ensure that disputes are avoided.

The most common mistake made by business owners is to sign an agreement put to them by a supplier without fully understanding the terms of the agreement and the effect it will have on their business. At AWB Charlesworth Solicitors we take a pragmatic approach when working with businesses to ensure that Directors fully understand the terms of the agreements they are entering into and if those terms are not suitable, we can negotiate on your behalf to ensure that a suitable resolution is reached.

At AWB Charlesworth Solicitors we also have experience in dealing with contractual disputes in the event that the contract has been breached. We work closely with businesses to ensure that the impact the dispute has on the business is minimal and to ensure that the business continues to run smoothly whilst the dispute is being dealt with.

Charlotte Gooch, part of the Commercial Law team and Christopher Cooper, part of the Commercial Litigation team at AWB Charlesworth Solicitors answer frequently asked questions below:

Charlotte

How can I make sure that my terms apply?

“Your standard terms will need to be properly incorporated into any contract. A good way to do this would be to state expressly in communications prior to entering into the contract and within the contract itself that your terms and conditions will apply.  It is always best to bring your terms to the attention of the other party as soon as possible and to gain written acceptance of your terms.”

Which terms should I look out for if I’m entering into a contract?

“The entirety of the contract should be reviewed before it is entered into however particular consideration should be given to any limitation of liability clauses, title and risk clauses and price and payment terms. You will also need to ensure that the description or specification of any goods or services to be provided is accurate.  We would always advise that you seek professional advice before entering into any contract”.

Should I have a standard set of terms and conditions?

“Putting in place well drafted standard terms and conditions which are bespoke to your business can be extremely beneficial to your business. It allows you to ensure that you are trading on consistent terms, can save time and expense and ensures that terms favourable to your business”.

Christopher

The other party has not complied with the terms of the contract, what should I do?

“If the other party has not complied with the terms of a contract, this represents a breach of contract which is likely to have an impact (whether minor or major) on your business. If the breach is minor, I would suggest contacting the other party initially because often it may be an oversight which can easily be remedied. If this is unsuccessful, or the breach is significant, I would recommend taking legal advice”.

I have received a letter of claim, what should I do?

“If you have received a letter of claim, it is also important that you take action immediately as more often than not, the letter of claim imposes a deadline by which a response is required. If you fail to respond within that time frame, it can lead to proceedings being issued. I often find that that disputes can be resolved prior to proceedings being issued when advice is taken immediately.  It is therefore imperative that advice is sought early on, whether the supplier is in breach or you are, to minimise the impact on your business.”

If you find yourself in a position where you are about to enter into an agreement with a supplier, or alternatively, where a pre-existing agreement is beginning to turn sour, contact Charlotte Gooch or Christopher Cooper on 01535 613678.

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