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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49027
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have recently received an employment contract from a new

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Hi,
I have recently received an employment contract from a new company but I use to work with the two of the senior people previously before that company was sold out. They would now like me to join company and sent over a countersigned employment contract asking me to return signed which I did this weekend. The MD has emailed me from his house the following 'I haven’t got a scanner here but please take this email as confirmation that I have signed your contract. If you could please do the same, as discussed just now and, hopefully having found a scanner, pop the signed contract back to me'. They are asking me to hand my notice in which I have said I will tomorrow however I'm not sure how comfortable I feel handing my notice in until I have a countersigned document. I'm only on one week notice so they are looking for me to start early Jan. Could you please advise?
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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks Ben

Legally, you do not need a signed contract by the employer to argue that there was a legally binding contract in place. Common law creates a contract when it can be shown that there was an offer, acceptance and consideration. Therefore, if the employer had made you an offer of employment, you accepted that offer and there was consideration (e.g. you relying on this to leave your current job), then it is most likely that a legally binding contract would be formed anyway, regardless of there being a signature or not. The signed contract would be the ideal scenario as then at least you have some formal document to show what was agreed, but if you have correspondence showing the offer, acceptance etc then you can still argue relatively easily that a contract was formed already.

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