A business law contract is used between two entities, usually both companies, to outline the scope of an arrangement, agreement or deal between the two businesses. In short, this document protects both parties from the abuse or negligence of the other party, and guarantees that each business is getting what they were promised from the deal. If you are about to enter into a contract agreement with another business, here are a few things you should watch out for in order to protect your liability to the fullest.
Put it in Writing
While a verbal agreement between two or more parties is considered legally binding in the eyes of the law, this can be very difficult to enforce or defend in court. Even with a witness present at the time the contract is made, it is often too easy to forget details, or for one party to misrepresent the agreement. This is especially true for contracts with an effective term lasting several months or years. Spelling everything out on paper provides a record of the agreement that cannot be disputed. It does not have to be complicated or full of technical jargon and legalese. In fact, it is better to keep the document simple, listing out the parties correctly, and describing what is expected from each party.
Identify Parties Correctly
While we all know that businesspeople are very smart, capable individuals, you would be surprised how often something as simple as the correct spelling for a business name is overlooked. While this may not seem like a big deal, misspelling one of the parties on the contract may make the contract null in void. Be sure to include the correct legal entity name for all involved parties so it is perfectly clear who is responsible for performing what duties under the arrangement.
List out all Pertinent Details
If you discuss something in person when negotiating the contract but fail to put it in the paper document, it might be next to impossible to enforce in court. Be sure that in the body of the agreement you spell out in clear detail exactly what each party is responsible for, including all payment obligations. Most judges will not consider things said at the time the contract was written, merely what is listed out in the contract.
Plan for the Worst Case Scenario
While it can be difficult to discuss, it is important that you and the other party engaged in the contract discuss terms for resolving disputes during the life of the contract, and settling on what circumstances will render the contract terminated. For instance, if one party misses too many important deadlines, the other party should have the right to pursue another vendor who is capable of meeting those requirements.
Use a Notary
Finally, when you sign the contract make sure you do so before a certified public notary. While this may seem like an unnecessary step, having your contract notarized makes it a certified document and eliminates the need for you or the other party to authenticate your identities.