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Help - Contract Cancellation Query

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    Help - Contract Cancellation Query

    Hi first time poster here

    Hope you can help. I was asked to propose for some work for a public sector organisation:
    - drew up & sent an outline
    - got an email confirming wish to progress
    - got an email confirming funding was in place
    - I sent Statement of Works & T&Cs which had an effective date of 23/06/17 although work was to start 1st Aug. Half payment due on 1st Aug & final Half upon delivery.
    - I was confirmed as consultant in 2x public forum meetings
    - after which I got further follow up emails asking me to liaise with individuals as part of the work/actions etc
    - scheduled my diary workload accordingly

    I went on hols for 2wks came back to an email saying no longer wish to progress.

    I have suggested I am contracted to them till end of Aug and offered my services for other work to avoid a breach of contract scenario - they are saying their legal teams view is that we are not in a contract. (Informal off record chat with 1 of them early doors on this gave me a diff opinion).

    Previously done consultancy work for this organisation & the steps outlined was what occurred (I.e. Set a precedent). I believe they approached a large organisation to do work, got messed around, so asked me to do it. Went back to original company (whose email query did they wish to progress I've seen) & they've demanded the work & me the little guy has been shafted.

    Any thoughts or advice I'm just a single consultant now after arranging work around them as a favour I will have no income for 8wks.

    Any advice appreciated

    #2
    What penalty clause was in your contract of one of you withdrew early? If there wasn't one then you get SFA.
    "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by SueEllen View Post
      What penalty clause was in your contract of one of you withdrew early? If there wasn't one then you get SFA.
      WSES. What does your signed contract say?

      Comment


        #4
        How long was your notice period? Not that it matters as there is no work for you to do.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by BrilloPad View Post
          How long was your notice period? Not that it matters as there is no work for you to do.
          Depends on the contract. This is not typical contractor stuff.

          Comment


            #6
            You need to carefully read the Ts and Cs. See what they tell you. If you think you have grounds then write them a formal letter. You could get laywered up now but that depends on your skill at Reading the Ts and Cs.
            See You Next Tuesday

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by AliG999 View Post
              - I sent Statement of Works & T&Cs which had an effective date of 23/06/17 although work was to start 1st Aug. Half payment due on 1st Aug & final Half upon delivery.
              Go back to the T&Cs and see what they say about cancellation prior to work commencing. Were they accepted by the (prospective) client? If they were then you invoice for the amount owed and chase it when they don't pay up.
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              Comment


                #8
                I suspect from original message that there is no signed contract here - there was a discussion about the work, the scope was discussed but the formal paperwork was going to be signed when he got back from hols at which point they did the dirty.

                Technically there could be a verbal contract here. There was certainly an offer made by the OP. There may be an argument about acceptance but the pattern of behaviour seems to suggest it was accepted (confirmed in a public forum, asked to liaise with the team etc). There fact that you did some pre-work in liaising with their team (at their behest) would seem to imply there was some consideration and the expectation was that there would be a binding arrangement.

                You have two choices here. Feel massively aggrieved and tell everyone what a bunch of **** these people are, but chalk it up to experience. Or try to get something out of it.

                If you go down the second route, I suggest writing to the hiring manager outlining that you consider that there was a verbal agreement that you would do the work, that this was confirmed through the public forums etc and that you had in good faith made plans to start today. Estimate what the "breach of contract" has cost you - after considering what you can do to mitigate the loss (eg if you can get a new contract in a couple of weeks, you can estimate that this has cost you two weeks of fees). Then explain this figure to them, and ask them to cover your loss. Then say that if they fail to pay you the amount in the next 7/14 days, you will start action against them in the Small Claims Court.

                If your claim is less than £5k, it will cost you £185 to start proceedings against them. If they file a defence, you then have to pay another £110 pre-hearing fee and £335 if it goes to court. You don't have to pay their costs even if you lose. So you are gambling £630 on your ability to convince a judge that there was a verbal contract and they screwed you over.

                Might well be the case that they don't want the hassle of going to court and so compromise, especially if they don't think their in-house legal team can handle it in which case they would have to spend money on external solicitors which they could not recover even if they won. If it did go to the small claims court, it is a pretty informal process where you talk through your case with the judge and answer any questions, they do likewise and he decides.

                Basically comes down to how strong you think your case is that they formed a verbal contract and how much you think they are prepared to fight if you go legal. Plus whether it is worth the hassle if you can just go and find a new role anyway quite quickly.

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