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Jurisdiction – a snapshot

When piecing together a contract, an often neglected but incredibly important area (quite literally) is jurisdiction and it seems wild to want to travel the world to fall out – or challenge the contract in court.

Let’s strip this back, what is jurisdiction? Quite simply, it’s the location in which your contract is legally defined and establishes what country’s law the court will hear a claim brought under the contract in question, i.e. an English court will not see a Scottish contract and vice versa.

So how do you choose jurisdiction? Well, if something were to go wrong, where do you want to sort it out any potential dispute and what law do you want to apply?

If the majority of your business takes place within your own country, it’s a no brainer! So why do so many people skim this clause and want to head elsewhere to go to court? It very quickly becomes expensive if you have to source a lawyer in a different country, never mind travel costs associated with choosing the different jurisdiction. However, in some cases the Jurisdiction is imposed upon the business as part of the negotiation, so this issue is not clear cut.
If a court does not have jurisdiction to hear your case, you will be sent packing and in the unlikely event that a court starts to hear a case outside the jurisdiction, it would have to be stopped and transferred to the correct jurisdiction which then may result in potential delays to a case and more expense all round.
In an English court, an English magistrate or judge will not be able to pass judgement on a Scottish contract and vice versa, this can become even more complicated when you start moving out with the UK and particularly with more complex cases that need to be taken somewhere with a more experienced judge.
Choosing your jurisdiction strategically may benefit you, should a claim arise. For example, a contract bound under Scottish Law dealing with an American client. Should a claim be made under the contract, the U.S party would need to source a Scottish lawyer and incur massive costs travelling to and staying in another country which in turn might be too much effort for a claim (depending on the severity of it).

In a nutshell, where possible the law should be practical, so choose your jurisdiction to minimise cost, travel and keep your energy for what matters to you.

Small businesses, donations and working with charities.

In our experience, a lot of small business owners are very aware of social responsibilities and many have started businesses based upon a principle or an ethos.

It would seem that small businesses are the perfect target for a charity or ethical organisation that requires donations. It appears logical, that a principled small business owner would be very keen to have a transparent and open link with a charity, especially a charity that reflects their values and is compatible with their approach to business. As a small business making smaller more frequent donations works for us as opposed to large one off donations.

So with that in mind; here are two suggestions or challenges, that if overcome, would help us integrate a charity into my business.

The first issue is highlighting the destination of the donation and the positive impact it may have?
There is a certain cynicism with regards to how much of the donation goes to the cause itself, perhaps the charity can tackle that issue by providing a statement or a certificate with every donation, outlining where the money is going and what percentage will impact the grassroots, or make a difference?

The second issue is access to a branded dedicated link (continuously live) to make it easy for our clients and us to make a donation. For example, some of our services like ‘updating a contract’, may require minor tweaks and we may avoid charging our clients for the work, however attaching a value to the work is useful and may be an opportunity to integrate a charitable donation option into our service. Its means we complete minor work for a fixed value which results in a donation instead of a direct payment or not charging any fee.

The charities we’ve spoken with are not structured to provide a simple payment mechanism for us to use. You would think with all the technology out there that making a charitable donation that’s transparent, open and ethically acceptable would be a simple task.

Hope you find our thoughts on this subject of interest.

Think ahead – plan to avoid contract problems

Small businesses should try and resolve their own contractual disputes where possible. It’s very expensive to use the courts as a way of resolving disputes. It costs too much time and money.

This means building remedy into the contract. This is certainly one way of resolving disputes as they arise.

The onus is on the contract drafter to project ahead and scenario plan, or capture moments of concern as you work with clients. You can’t avoid every dispute, but you can minimise the number and the impact on your business.

The result will be the inclusion of clauses that are created to protect the business, manage the client’s expectations and in many cases demonstrate to potential clients a way to engage that allows you to deliver services effectively and in line with what’s been agreed.

Over the following weeks, i’ll be publishing a variety of examples starting with the issue of warranty…..

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Paying by Direct Debit

Paying by Direct Debit

Paying through direct debit is something we are pleased to offer to clients. In the legal sector it can be quite unusual, and it is common for work to be completed and the full bill settled within a 14 to 30 day period. But we understand that this method doesn’t always work out, especially for SME’s.

We know our clients and understand what works best for them. We know that every business is different, which is why we like to offer flexibility. Sometimes paying a bill in full is the better option for a client, and of course we are happy to accept this, but 70% of our clients pay their bills on time through our direct debit option.

We know offering direct debit offers benefits to both our clients and ourselves, so we have put together a list of the benefits of paying by direct debit.

 

  1. Helps small businesses to stay in control of their finances

Direct debit offers flexibility to our clients. Paying by direct debit means that an agreed amount will be taken at an agreed time, so both parties know what is expected. It makes an otherwise larger bill affordable for small business, and allows them to stay in control of their spending. Understandably, we want to get paid for the work we do, and so direct debit allows us to work with clients who may not otherwise have been able to afford it.

  1. Helps to make the law accessible

Many business can’t protect themselves, because they simply can’t afford to pay for it. By offering direct debit we are allowing SME’s access to the law, which will help to protect their business, help them get paid and grow.

  1. Improves cash flow

Rather than one large amount, direct debit gives you the option to pay in smaller, more manageable amounts which are agreed prior to work commencing. This improves the business cash flow and helps business to manage their cash flow.

  1. Secure payment method that promotes paperless environment

Create Ts and Cs are a paperless environment, and we can support this idea because we offer direct debit. Direct debits are secure and a safe way of paying for the work.

  1. Increased client loyalty

Because we offer the option for clients to pay their bill in instalments through direct debit, it encourages loyalty. Many of our clients continue to work with us because we offer this payment method.

Launching a new app or website?

Launching a new app or website?

When you launch a new app or website offering your products and services, do you stop to make sure you have the right protection? It is critical that you have the right terms and conditions in place for your app/website, but are these affordable?

When you are starting out it may be that a bespoke contract is not suitable for your business and an entry level contract would be more beneficial to your business to get it off the ground. These are available to download from many places on the internet, and some business even write them themselves. But as we explained in our ‘bespoke Vs DIY’ blog (link) these don’t have much legal standing and won’t offer your business strong protection.

It is important when organising your business contracts to ensure that you have the correct style when launching. Getting to market is the ultimate goal and whilst some things may be deemed unnecessary costs, getting the right terms and conditions in place for your app/website is critical especially when a business is just launching.

The way in which business contract is evolving and it is so important to make sure that your business has some sort of protection. Doing your research to find the right contract is key. For example, it is becoming more and more common for businesses to contract through social media, especially so with apps. We have all done it – download an app and use social media accounts to sign in and agree to the terms and conditions. But the DIY templates available on the internet have absolutely no facility to contract through social media.

An entry level product with a fixed price may be the best option for your business. A set of terms and conditions that aren’t bespoke but still offer the business protection, ensuring the key clauses are in place before you go to market and are up to date with technology and the new ways to contract.

Is this something you may be interested in?

Trading Internationally

Trading Internationally

In times of growth, businesses may consider expanding and selling into different countries. It also may be the case that the market is aboard for certain companies. International businesses gives better choice in the marketplace, more competitive rates and supports the local economy.

Some of the key considerations; the style of the contract is critical to doing international work, if the contract is accessible to those clients where English is  second language, then its sensible and good business practice that there’s no barrier to sale or to contract being understood and sensitive to the cultural differences.

There is a choice in what law the contracts are written under. It can be written under any jurisdiction in the world – but choosing the wrong jurisdiction could cause problems. English law is stable with a good international reputation so this is generally the jurisdiction of choice.

Whether you dealing with consumers of business, a well thought through contract will be understood by potential clients and simply add to the credibility of your company.

The best option is to draft a contract that will help to avoid disputes and problems. A contract should help to give peace of mind and assurance. This will help to minimise legal costs and battles.  Also a correctly written contract will assist to manage client’s expectations and outline their responsibilities.

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Create Ts and Cs provide a bespoke set of Terms and Conditions for your business at a fixed price, this unique approach to individualising commercial Terms and Conditions allow Start up and SME sized businesses the opportunity to protect themselves, manage risk and guard against future unnecessary disputes at an affordable price. Download: terms & conditions | privacy policy