Identifying the parties to a contract

The first thing I learnt as a trainee lawyer is that the parties to a contract should be properly and unambiguously identified. I spent the next few years learning that non-lawyers routinely elide this principle - to the benefit of no-one, except lawyers. If you don't properly identify the parties to the contract, who can enforce it? And against whom can it be enforced?

How to write a delivery policy

From the perspective of the customer, the delivery policy may be the most important legal document on a website. It should answer questions that are of keen interest to all customers: by what means will my goods be delivered? When will they be delivered? Do I have to sign for delivery? Will I have to take a day off work? And how much will it all cost? Accordingly, if you're selling goods through a website, you should publish a delivery policy of some kind.

5 contract negotiation tactics to avoid

The success of most contract negotiation processes can be measured by: the quality of the resulting contract, in terms of faithfulness to the parties' intentions, proportionality, certainty and clarity; the length of the process and the costs incurred during the process; and the resulting attitudes of each party with respect to the contractual documentation and, more importantly, each other. Although not every contractual negotiation can be measured against these principles - for instance, dispute settlement agreements are rarely going to lead to mutual respect - they hold good for most.

New wedding photography contract template

I've spent much of today working on a new wedding photographer contract. This is an adapted version of our existing standard terms and conditions for photographers. There are quite a few features of wedding photography documents that differentiate them from other kinds of photography contract. Having been through the adaptation process, I would recommend that any wedding photographer not using a contract specifically adapted for weddings should be thinking about doing so.

Sellling online and the law - part 3 - product descriptions

Product descriptions and photographs are among the more important aspects of a typical online sales strategy. Descriptions should be clear, informative and fresh; photos should be properly exposed and focused, and large enough enough to show off the products to best effect. But also, descriptions and photos must be legal.

Selling online and the law - part 2 - regulation of products

If you are selling online, you need to ensure that the products you are selling are legal. Some types of product - nuclear warheads, etc - are clearly illegal; others are potentially legal, subject to compliance with special regulations. Pharmaceuticals, food and toys fall into this category. Then there's a residual category of products, not given any special treatment, but nonetheless subject to the general law on product safety and quality.

Selling online and the law - part 1 - introduction

Over the past few months, I've been involved in the development of a couple of new businesses selling products online: a toy retailer and a fashion accessory design/supply business. As well as hacking together the websites for the businesses (using the wonderful Drupal) I've been responsible for legal compliance. With the experience fresh in memory, it seems like a good time to write a guide to the legal issues affecting online sales, using the two businesses as case studies.

London 2012 and marketing - don't "medal" with the Olympic brand

Given the profile of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, there will be a real temptation for businesses of all types to attempt to associate themselves with such a huge event. But beware - all that glitters may not be gold for businesses falling foul of any of the myriad of legislation surrounding the Games. One of the conditions attached to London being awarded the right to hold the Games in 2012 was that the organizers had to deliver a “clean games: LOCOG must be able to prevent any unauthorized use of any Olympic-connected branding.

Employees and social media: possibilities and pitfalls

Social media services and traditional businesses have an uneasy relationship. One the one hand, social media sites can consume a huge amount of employee time and present novel risks; on the other hand, they offer valuable marketing and business development opportunities. The risks of employee social media use were highlighted recently in the case of Teggert v Teletech.

Renewing your publishing contracts

Perhaps because author agreements last a long time, many publishers use the same standard contract for a long period. Many years may pass by between comprehensive contract reviews. If you are a publisher, and your contracts are starting to look a little archaic, then this post should help you. It highlights some of the key developments of the last decade that affect publishing contracts, with a particular focus on author agreements.