Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Attention to detail in informal oral and email contract negotiations

By Raymond L Sweigart

With the ever-increasing use of and reliance on emails and other forms of informal communication handled on a rushed basis during a hectic negotiation process, it is a common occurrence for such informal business dealings to result in agreements that are partly oral, partly written and in various forms. This, in turn, can lead to difficulties should the contractual relations break down and result in litigation. A pause for thought and attention to detail can prove to be most prudent.

An example of the foregoing is presented by a recent decision from the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, Hamid v Francis Bradshaw Partnership [2013] EWCA Civ 470. The claimant, Dr Hamid, was the director and sole owner of a limited company, Chad Furniture Store Ltd, which in turn operated a furniture business under a trading name, Moon Furniture. His status as owner of this company was a matter of public record. However, in entering into a contract regarding a new furniture showroom for his business, Dr Hamid throughout his discussions and dealings with the defendant used and signed his own name and also used the email and trading name of his business rather than its corporate name.

The defendant asserted that in entering into the contract it believed that it was dealing with the claimant’s limited company and not the claimant as an individual. The tactical reason for this defence was that if the company was joined or substituted as claimant, it could be argued that it had suffered no loss because it did not own the subject property that had been allegedly damaged by improper design and construction. The first-instance court as a preliminary issue held for the individual claimant, Dr Hamid, and the Court of Appeal had to decide whether the individual or his limited company was the contracting party…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Pillsbury briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

 

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in

Register

It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer

 

Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.

 

Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.

 

Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

View more briefings from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Overview

Tower 42, Level 23
25 Old Broad Street
London
EC2N 1HQ
UK
http://www.pillsburylaw.com/