Understanding the Contract
What is a Contract?
A contract is a signed agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration. As a rule, South Africa follows English Law in the areas of Procedural Law, Law of Contract and the Law of Evidence.
Why is a contract necessary in business?
It is good business practice never to proceed with an order or service unless you have a signed order and been paid a deposit. One should only proceed with the job once the deposit has cleared in your banking account.
Before you Sign
Review the contract carefully
One should never sign a contract without first obtaining professional opinion to assess the agreement and give a professional opinion. If you cannot afford professional help, read the contract and check all the small print carefully and ask questions about matters you do not understand. You may find that you have signed an agreement or contract that will forbid you from opening a second business or to sell generic versions of the product
A breach of contract could cost you a lot of money
If one of the parties breaches any provision of an agreement, the aggrieved party can claim damages. It is wise therefore to consult a professional before going ahead with a new business.
Determining the legality with the help of a professional
Usually, in determining the legality of a contract, factors that will be considered include the nature of the product, the geographical area, the period of time for which the agreement is applicable, and the particular interests which the supplier is seeking to protect.
Terms and conditions
It is necessary to prepare terms and conditions that must be agreed to and signed for when the order is placed. This is vital in terms of protecting your business. Terms and Conditions set out the terms on which the manufacturer will produce the product in accordance with specifications, as well as payment structure, delivery liability and refunds.
The best recourse you have is to seek legal advice. If you cannot afford this, there are free law clinics around the country that will be able to help you. Visit Entrepreneurs Legal Directory to get in touch with legal experts in your area.
Seek Legal Advice
Where can I find an online directory to locate a lawyer in my region of South Africa?
There are a number of law firms that specialise in Intellectual Property throughout South Africa. Choosing a suitable attorney depends on many factors and your specific requirements.
The Law Society of South Africa
The Law Society also offers a free first consultation scheme in terms of which you can by way of a telephonic enquiry, be referred to an attorney for a half-an-hour consultation for free legal advice. In cases where attorneys may or cannot continue to practise, the Law Society also attends to their practices and offer assistance to members of the public to ensure that their interests are protected and their matters dealt with in a proper manner.
Where to find online legal help
To get in touch with a legal expert or business in your area, browse through the Entrepreneur legal directory for options.
HG.org was founded in 1995 and is a global network of independent law firms. It features many of South Africa’s leading legal firms.
Online legal contracts
Hortors are not just renowned for their legal stationery, but also offer an excellent online directory where browsers can search for legal help.