How do I make the contract legally binding?
Legal document company Clickdocs receives many queries from customers asking how they make their agreements legally binding and do they need a solicitor to do this. The simple answer is that once the agreement is signed by the parties they are legally bound by it. If one party breaks the agreement, the other party has a legal right to enforce what was originally agreed. This includes all the terms and conditions of the contract.
It is surprising how many people do business without having a formal written contract.
A couple of years ago, a website designer friend of mine agreed to build a website for a mutual friend. The design, time-scale and price were agreed on a handshake and no written agreement was signed. Our mutual friend kept changing his mind about the design and eventually the job, which was supposed to take one month, ran to three and my friend realised he had spent more time than the job was worth and wrote the project off. Our mutual friend refused to pay for the work done and because there was no written agreement my friend had no redress. Unsurprisingly, they are no longer friends.
Excuses for not having a written contract
One of the most common excuses for not having a written agreement, as in the above example, is that the other party is a friend or just seems like ‘a nice guy’. In the majority of situations things will go smoothly but it just takes one misunderstanding for things to go wrong. Although oral agreements can be binding and enforceable, they can be difficult to prove. That’s why it’s important to have an agreement in writing.