New guide goes back to basics on contract law

UK Businesses of all sizes, and in all sectors, can benefit from a new free information guide that has been launched to give a clear, concise, and up-to-date overview of the key aspects of contract law for their everyday operations.

Contract law basics: Guidance for businesses on the basics of contract law is part of a series of resources published by the Business Companion website on behalf of the Department for Business and Trade. The guide has been written by experts in consumer protection law and is specifically designed to help traders avoid the common pitfalls, mistakes and misunderstandings that can occur when entering into contracts with customers, suppliers and other businesses.

It includes definitions of frequently used terminology and the key elements of contract formation, as well as examining the different types of contracts that businesses frequently enter into, including those governing on-premises and distance sales.

Both business-to-consumer and business-to-business contracts are covered, as well as postal and online contracts. The guide also looks at what would be considered unfair contract terms and conditions, and examines important issues such as a customer’s capacity to enter into a contract.

As well as handy links to further in-depth reading and the relevant areas of legislation, the guide incorporates a useful checklist that can be used by businesses to help ensure that the terms and conditions they use align with best practice and consumer protection law.

The launch of the guide coincides with a series of webinars, hosted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and presented by the guide’s author, Jemma Cox. These free two-hour sessions, which will include guidance on the do's and don'ts of writing contracts, will take place on 22 March at 10am and 28 March at 1pm. 

The repercussions of making mistakes when designing your contracts could be significant, with the potential for disputes with customers, work not being paid for, legal penalties and time-consuming and expensive remediation costing your business dearly.

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Business Companion

Business Companion is a free online resource produced by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) on behalf of the Department for Trade.

The content on Business Companion is written and verified by expert contributors, but is not designed to be a replacement for professional advice and is intended only for guidance. Only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

Business Companion covers Trading Standards law for England, Scotland and Wales.

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