One of the questions we often get asked is about the ins and outs of website law, to which we replay “we’re not legal experts” and point people in the direction of someone who is, or at out-law.com! One such expert is Richard Jenkins of Claric Legal Services, based in Coventry, who specialises in commercial and company law. I asked him to write a guest post on the importance of a written contract.
Why Have a Written Contract?
Benjamin Franklin stated “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In the commercial world, written contracts are the ounce of prevention that helps to reduce costly disputes.
A carefully drafted written contract serves as an important point of reference for both you and the other party. Having a written description of the rights, obligations and responsibilities prevents potential confusion between the parties. It helps to avoid ambiguity and uncertainty and there is less likely to be miscommunication and misinterpretation.
A good written contract clearly states the responsibilities of all parties, often setting out things such as the outcomes expected, performance measures, timeframes and financial arrangements. Whilst it may contain some “legalese” (which often protects and/or clarifies the positions of the parties), it does not need to be complicated. In fact, the plainer the English, the better, in my view.
If a contract is not in writing, it may well be difficult to prove that you have a contract at all. It is often true to say: “a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s written on!”
Richard Jenkins of Claric Legal Services Ltd is a Chartered Secretary with 20+ years experience of providing legal support to businesses/organisations, specialising in Commercial Law, Company Law and Corporate Governance.
Should you require any further information, he can be contacted on [email protected]