Be careful! I attended a seminar recently where the lawyers were discussing what was in the contract versus what the parties thought was in the contract. In other words, the way the contract is set up or written determines what is recorded as being agreed despite that not necessarily being everybody’s intentions.

Of course, it is very important to read the contract before you sign it and if necessary take legal or contractual advise before doing so. Sometimes it takes a court case and lots of forensic work to determine what is actually in the contract. This can often come down to the interpretation of the particular court or how much a party is willing to spend in legal fees to overturn a judgement against them and get the answer they want. For some people, it may be that the legal fees are too high to even go to court in the first place.

Badly prepared contracts are riddled with anomalies, inconsistencies and conflicting documents.  A badly prepared contract will often be more trouble than not having one at all as it gives the parties a lever where one didn’t exist before. The errors cause uncertainty and this can create an adversarial atmosphere and ultimately conflict.

The learning here is to make sure the contract is drafted by an experienced person in the first instance.