Top 6 tips to prevent contract disputes
Our contract experts are used to advising businesses when contracts don't go according to plan.
Drawing on their expertise, they've produced a guide below for tips to help prevent disputes from arising. If any of the issues apply to you, feel free to get in touch.
Check the other side's expertise or ability to pay.
Make sure the party you are contracting with has the necessary expertise to undertake what you have asked, or has the funds you require if they instruct you. Undertake some research. Ask for examples, or proof of results if possible.
Get funds in advance.
If you are required to pay for some of the work yourself, but the benefit is being passed to another party, if possible request money up front and on a regular basis so you are not out of pocket. If a dispute arises you may not get this money back.
Make sure you read a contract fully before signing it.
Read through the contract carefully. If additional documents that make up the contract are missing, make sure you have these, or check they are not applicable. Make sure the contract deals with all material issues you want it to cover. If you are unclear on any point enquire with the party who has drafted the contract or take independent advice before agreeing. You can potentially negotiate terms.
If a change occurs or needs to be made to the agreement, make sure it is documented in writing.
Set out a clear account of what is being changed, who is responsible for the change, and constantly evaluate what impact this will have on the existing agreement. If you do not have time, take independent advice.
Make a note of key conversations and decisions.
Many agreements are made orally, at meetings, on the phone or in reaction to unforeseen problem. Keep a diary of what was agreed at the time it happens. You could potentially send an email to the person setting out what you have agreed. Many disputes arise when it is difficult to prove who said what and when so keeping a record assists hugely.
Deal with an issue in a timely way, and without losing your temper.
When something goes wrong or there is a difficult conversation to be had, many people put off dealing with it in the hope it will get better or sort itself out. Unfortunately this is when minor issues can escalate hugely.
Many disputes arise and become entrenched or inflamed when matters appear to be a personal attack against you. Try and keep things objective and do not react to unprofessional conduct from the other side.
If you are not comfortable dealing with matters or do not have time to deal, take independent advice, a legal advisor can deal on your behalf and in line with your instructions.
We are a team of seasoned litigators, recognised for our advocacy skills and for tirelessly fighting our client's corner. We're well-known for our high-profile work and excellent client satisfaction. We operate from offices facing the High Court in central London and are ideally located to handle breach of contract litigation. We provide clear and open advice regarding the costs involved, are adept at offering commercially attractive funding arrangements, which could include conditional fee arrangements, and we have excellent relationships with litigation funders.
Saunders Law - Expert Contract Disputes Solicitors London
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