Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - July/August 2020

44 Sign on the dotted line In a situation that has not been experienced before, such as the one we are in now, it’s important to know where you stand contractually and what legal implications there may be if you cannot provide services to others or they cannot provide services to you that are contractually bound to be fulfilled. VERBAL CONTRACTS Many believe that to be legally enforceable, a contract must be in writing. This isn’t the case for simple contracts, although there are a few exceptions. We frequently make verbal contracts without knowing it. For example, public transport: as soon as we make the payment, the transport company has a contract with us to get us to our destination safely and within a reasonable time. We’re not asked to sign something every time we travel but it’s deemed to be a valid contract. If something happens, e.g. a long delay, we have recourse and can claim compensation. If you believe you have a verbal contract with someone else, anything that infers this, for example an action taken by you which you would not have considered unless there had been a contract in place, or an email trail mentioning certain matters where the only conclusion is that there was a legally binding agreement, is sufficient evidence. UNFORESEEN SITUATIONS However, what happens if there’s a valid contract that cannot be fulfilled because of some unforeseen, outside influence. For example, the situation we currently find ourselves in, where changes to our everyday routines are not only being chosen (for safety reasons) but are also being forced upon us through no fault of either party to the contract? Can a retailer, for example, sue a supplier for compensation? Well, probably not as the contract will be deemed to Amanda Hamilton, CEO of National Association of Licenced Paralegals (NALP), looks at where your business stand with regards contracts and the coronavirus