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Top tips for avoiding contract disputes

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Posted by Matthew Goodwin on 26 May 2015

Matthew Goodwin - Tax Disputes Lawyer
Matthew Goodwin Associate-Solicitor-Advocate

A lot of contract disputes can be prevented by proper planning at the outset of an agreement.  By following these simple top tips, whether you are an individual or a business, you can seek to avoid subsequent contract disputes.

Write it down

Even if you have a strong relationship with the party you are contracting with, write down what you are agreeing in a written contract, and ensure that both parties sign it.  Make sure that the contract sets out, as clearly as possible, what both parties envisage as the outcome of the contract.

There are lots of pitfalls in contract law, and if you are in any doubt or would like someone to take a second look at the contract, you should seek legal advice.

Be clear on the obligations of both parties

Both parties should know what is expected of them.  Whether these obligations be monetary in return for services rendered, or specifications of the services to be provided, if the obligations are not set out, then you may struggle to enforce against them at a later date.

If there are time constraints to be applied to the services, again monetary or otherwise, these should be set out clearly.

If the services are complicated, or you have concerns that you are not fully protected, consider asking a third party to review the contract, or again, seek legal advice.

Quality control

If you are receiving goods or services, make sure that the agreement sets out clearly what your expectations are. Whether these be specifications of goods or a breakdown of the services to be provided, it is important that you set down exactly what quality you expect.

It may also be appropriate to include an inspection stage, prior to payment, allowing you to inspect the goods or services provided prior to paying any outstanding balance of fees.

Early termination

There are times when a party can’t continue, or doesn’t want to continue, with a contract.  When preparing the agreement, you may wish to consider some form of notice period, allowing a party to terminate the agreement in certain circumstances.

Keep records

Any written correspondence between you and the other party should be kept.  If there is a subsequent dispute, then the correspondence will be used to support what the intentions of the parties were.  It may also be useful to keep a note of any telephone calls.

Speak to a solicitor

Litigation can be avoided if a contract is properly prepared at the outset of an agreement. If you want to talk through your needs or want someone to review or prepare a contract for you, or if you are already involved in a contract dispute and need support on guidance on the next best steps, please contact us. 

About the author

Matthew Goodwin


As an associate within the tax and financial services litigation team, Matthew regularly acts for corporates and individuals, dealing with a variety of disputes.

Matthew Goodwin

As an associate within the tax and financial services litigation team, Matthew regularly acts for corporates and individuals, dealing with a variety of disputes.

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