Thursday, 31 October 2013

Contracts: 3 "large print" points

It shows that I'm not a Lawyer, but I have to admit that as I've aged the importance of Contracts to me has risen. Whether Tom Waits, Amos 'n' Andy or Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen coined the phrase:

"The large print giveth and the small print taketh away"

I have work colleagues who have had reason to thank their small print, or blame it... to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds. When things go wrong, it pays to have thought ahead and captured in the contract the correct disposition of the result.

Reviewing contracts, your own and others', requires a crystal clear understanding of your purpose in contracting, and sufficient experience in reading and negotiating contracts of a particular type. That experience may come in-house, or from external legal advice. I say of that "particular type" because I recently reviewed a contract outside of my normal comfort zone, and my lack of established reference points was obvious to me. So my learning points are to make sure that:
  • You and anyone advising you is clear on your purpose in contracting
  • You have or apply sufficient experience of the type of contract you will be signing
  • You and any advisors have thought through what might go wrong and how you would want it dealt with if it does.
Happy signing!

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