Do I really need a solicitor? Commercial contract blunders

Associate Solicitor Gemma RitchieIn this series, we explore real-life examples that our lawyers have encountered where failing to seek solicitor advice has caused clients all manner of problems. Along the way there are useful ‘takeaways’ to help you avoid making the same mistakes. 

Gaby Hardwicke’s commercial contracts lawyers handle all manner of business agreements. And unfortunately, we regularly encounter poorly-drafted contracts or cases where businesses have tried to cut costs by using documents downloaded from the internet that are unsuitable for them or their particular circumstances.

Below, Associate Solicitor Gemma Ritchie (pictured) has highlighted two recent examples our team has seen.

Borrowed t&cs not fit for purpose

A client sent us a set of terms and conditions (t&cs) that he was about to put to use, which he had ‘borrowed’ from a competitor. When we examined the t&cs we discovered they were entirely contrary to our client’s interests as they were drafted from the perspective of a purchaser when our client was the supplier. If our client had used these t&cs they would, among other things, have needlessly taken on a wide scope of potential liability. Fortunately, we were able to point this out and were instructed to do a full rewrite.

Confidential information risk through NDA

We were sent a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) by a client who had drafted the document themselves. We noticed the NDA, which was poorly drafted, was worded so that it could be terminated by either party by giving notice to the other. However, there were no provisions to protect any information disclosed to date under the NDA. This meant a party could terminate the NDA without being bound to keep information disclosed under it confidential. Again, when we pointed this out, our client instructed us to rewrite the NDA.

Expert legal advice on commercial contracts

For expert legal advice on commercial contracts please contact Gemma Ritchie at or 01323 435 900.

Posted: 25 January 2017

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