Understanding Commercial Contracts and the Law

NEW This programme is a must for all individuals who are engaged in dealing with commercial contracts and managing contractual relationships, or are a party to a commercial contract.

Course overview

Contracting is at the heart of commerce. All too often individuals hide behind contracts, citing them as the reason for not doing things or for doing things in a certain way, without understanding the actual contract itself or how contracts work.

This programme is a must for all individuals who are engaged in dealing with commercial contracts and managing contractual relationships, or are a party to a commercial contract. It’s ideal for those who have no formal knowledge of contracts and as a useful refresher for those with a working knowledge of contracts.

Why you should attend

This programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills to understand and manage commercial contracts. Through the use of case studies you will learn about the key legal concepts and law relevant to your commercial agreements.

Sample programme

1. Understanding the impact of the law

As an introduction to the day, we review a series of scenarios to establish how the law impacts upon us in our day-to-day dealings with other companies and individuals.

  • Issues
  • Rights
  • Obligations
  • Outcomes

2. How contracts are formed

It can be easy to assume that contracts are the result of a long drawn-out and very formal process. It can be like that but there are traps for the unwary.

  • Elements of a contract
  • Verbal contracts
  • Letters of intent
  • Battle of the forms

3. Service levels, terms and conditions

Contracts use a variety of mechanisms to provide managers with the tools to achieve the performance and objectives they desire. Some of these work better than others and some should be avoided.

  • What is an SLA
  • KPIs and metrics
  • Progressive escalation
  • Pitfalls of standard terms

4. Establishing and managing contracts

Contracts are rarely established by the people who will be managing them. Often there is a disconnect between the agreed deal, the contract that is set up and the on-going management of the contract post-contract award.

  • Contract dashboards
  • Performance reviews
  • Contract governance
  • Change control

5. Intellectual property

In the information age litigation between companies over the rights to inventions, ideas and ways of working can be very expensive and the outcome is, at best, uncertain. Managing your intellectual property is now a matter of necessity – not something that can be left to chance.

  • What is IPR
  • Trademarks, copyright and know-how
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements
  • Protecting yourself

6. Termination and breach

Inevitably some contracts will fail or will become redundant or, simply, requirements and needs evolve and the contract is no longer fit for purpose. Contracts do need to be terminated and the transition to a new contract and/or new provider needs to be managed well.

  • Contract dashboards
  • Performance reviews
  • Contract governance
  • Change control

7. Alternative dispute resolution

Not every contractual dispute needs to end in full-blown litigation. There are a variety of sophisticated and quasi-legal routes to resolve contractual disputes.

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Litigation
  • Negotiation

Recommended trainer

Robert Maguire runs his own consultancy and his experience spans the full range of outsourcing and vendor management issues from determining what to outsource, through developing an appropriate contract strategy and building a performance dashboard to negotiation and conflict resolution to deal with the inevitable management issues that arise in any long-term relationship. Through his consulting, coaching, mentoring and skills development interactions, he helps major organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sector transform their thinking and approach to their commercial relationships. Robert’s clients span a range of industries including pharma, consumer products, telecoms, transport and public sector both in the UK, the US and the Middle East. He is an accomplished line manager and consultant experienced in all aspects of purchasing and supplier management. Prior to establishing his own consultancy Rob was European Purchasing Manager for Reckitt & Colman plc where he established a European procurement function for the purchase of raw materials and sub-contracted products. He has worked as a consultant at Price Waterhouse and Ernst & Young, and has worked with a number of pharma companies including Glaxo Welcome (GSK).