Are you in dispute with a supplier?
Have you been let down by another company that failed to supply the goods or services you agreed upon? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you will need to take advice. However, in cases of potential breaches of contract any old advice will just not do. What’s needed in these specialised cases in expert advice; the sort of advice only a qualified solicitor can give. Even if you or a member of your staff believe you have the necessary understanding of the complex legal processes involved, the fact remains that you will not have the same levels of expertise and knowledge as a dedicated professional. If you try to resolve the matter yourselves, then you run the risk of making mistakes which could prove to be very costly.
Harold Stock & Co’s advice is always to take expert advice in cases where there is a suspected breach of contract.
The rules of contract are governed by both statute and precedent and need to be strictly adhered to. That’s why it is always best to employ a solicitor for professional advice to help draw up your contracts, specify which terms and conditions are appropriate, and deal with any contractual problems or issues that might arise.
Business contracts are legally binding agreements between two or more parties. Contracts, however, can only validly exist when certain specific conditions are met, namely, both buyer and seller must intend to make a contract and be capable of making it, an offer has to be made and accepted and something of value will need to exchanged or change hands, whether that’s money, goods or services. Valid contracts don’t have to be written: oral contracts can generally be equally binding. However, certain specific contracts, such as property leases over three years, must be written.
It is also important to remember that although only those terms which were agreed before or at the time of making the contract will apply, the law does allow ‘implied terms’ to be incorporated into contracts at a later date. The terms of the contract govern what the seller and buyer is each obliged to do, and spell out what legal action can be taken if one party fails to perform their part of the contract.
Breaches of contract
A breach of contract occurs when one or more of the terms and conditions laid out in a contract has been broken. Such a breach could lead to the contract breaking down completely and could easily result in legal action and a claim for damages in a law court. Most contracts are formed when an agreement is made between two or more parties to carry out a service in return for payment for that service. If one of the parties fails to carry out their side of the agreement, then they can be said to be in breach of contract. Breach of contract, however, can also occur if any agreed work carried out is defective, or if one party makes the other aware that they will not be carrying out the agreed work. Breaches of contract can also include non-payment for a service or not paying on time, failure to deliver services or goods, and being late with services without a reasonable excuse. Terms and conditions are a fundamental part of a legally binding contract and any broken terms can lead to breach of contract.
If a dispute does occur due to breach of contract then the judge will need to decide that a legally binding contract exists, and that it has been breached. In some cases the contract may only be a verbal contract and there may be no actual written evidence that a contract was formed. However, in such cases a judge will need to study the terms and conditions of the contract in detail, and then clarify what actually was agreed in practice.
Why use Harold Stock & Co?
Breaching a contract can be a serious offence and is one of the most common offences to come before the courts. Breaches of contract can also be extremely complex cases, so anyone considering court action should seek expert legal advice before proceeding. Harold Stock’s commercial team has the experience and skill to negotiate tactically to achieve the best results for our clients. We pride ourselves on ensuring that our clients understand the commercial and legal reality of any dispute and the likely costs, timescale and outcome.
Litigation does not necessarily mean court proceedings. Disputes, whether between individuals or commercial entities, can be resolved through negotiation and mediation. A commercial relationship is more likely to survive if a resolution through negotiation can be achieved. This would also avoid significant court costs which can prove costly.
If negotiations break down and the matter remains unresolved we can take you through the court process from issuing and drafting your claim, dealing with the complex nature of evidence and dealing with final preparation for a trial at court. We can also advise upon tactical measures which can be taken once the claim has been issued and also upon your enforcement options. It is appropriate at an early stage to consider, in the event that you are successful, how you enforce payment of any Judgment in your favour from the losing party.
For further information about breaches of contract or contract disputes and resolution, call Harold Stock & Co solicitors on 01457 835597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.