First4lawyers can help you draw up contracts, policies and procedures that follow UK law to reduce the chance of costly disputes with employees, customers, or clients.
You might have been stung in the past by not having water-tight policies, or you could be so busy running your business you haven’t had time to issue formal contracts, or draw up official procedures. Whatever your situation, you can benefit from hiring experts to review your existing position.
For legal help and advice on your contracts, policies and procedures from specialist employment lawyers, you can get in touch with First4lawyers.
What is a business contract?
A business contract is an agreement between two or more parties that is bound in law. The contract will set out what each party must do or not do as part of the mutual agreement.
For example, the contract in question could define the nature of goods or services, as well as the price paid for those things. There are many different types of business contracts. These relate – but are not limited - to the following:
- Lease or sale of business premises.
- Partnership agreements.
- The lease or sale of plant equipment.
- The rights of employees.
- Exchanges of information.
What are the essential elements of a contract?
A contract must contain six essential elements to be binding in UK law. These six elements are:
- Offer – This is a promise to do or not to do something in clear terms.
- Acceptance – This forms the contractual obligations.
- Consideration – This is a promise to act, or a promise not to act and represents the value within the contractual terms.
- Capacity – In order to enter a contract, each party must have the capacity to fulfil its part of the agreement.
- Intention to create legal relations – Both parties must expressly intend that the contract be binding in legal terms.
- No vitiating factors – The contract must not contain any terms that legally invalidate the agreement.
What general matters are covered in a contract?
A business contract could define the parties involved, dates relevant to the terms and clauses, as well as descriptions of the goods and/or services that your business will receive or provide.
It’s also likely to cover payment amounts, any interest amounts on late payments, guarantee and insurance provisions, as well as damages for breach of contract and the termination conditions.
What are policies and procedures?
Policies are rules, principles and guidelines. Procedures are the courses of action your company will take in different situations in line with policy.
The purpose of setting policies and procedures is to ensure actions and outcomes that are attuned to your company’s ethos.
What are the basic requirements of policies and procedures?
If your business employs five or more people, the law requires you to set out an achievable health and safety procedure in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This policy should include fire safety, risk assessment and workstation assessment procedures.
As equality is a statutory responsibility, you should also consider drawing up an Equal Opportunities Statement of Intent. This could include reference to recruitment, harassment and confidentiality.
Other policies and procedures could relate to the following:
- Personnel – This may include staff discipline, dismissal, grievances, redundancy, retirement and more.
- Office management – Like use of office and group facilities, security.
- Finances – Such as insurance.
- Governance - e.g. AGM procedures.
What are the main advantages of having thorough contracts, policies and procedures in place?
Having detailed contracts, policies and procedures in place can, among other things, reduce the risk of your employees needing – or having grounds – to make a claim against you.
My business needs help or advice on contracts, policies and procedures – what should I do?
Whether you want to draw up new contracts, policies and procedures, or you need to adapt your existing documentation, it is highly advisable that you make contact with legal professionals with expertise in the area, which you can do by getting in touch with First4lawyers.
Our specialist business solicitors understand the needs of your business and are here to help protect your interests and the future of your business.