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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47351
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a free lance engineer and I was due to start a new contract

Resolved Question:

I am a free lance engineer and I was due to start a new contract with a different company however my present company made me a better offer. I decided to stay, I never received a contract from the 'new' company to review or sign. Can they take any action against me?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Did you formally accept an offer from the new company?
Customer:

No nothing was signed, I gave notice and then was offered a better offer to stay.

Ben Jones :

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

The main issue here is whether a formal contract was entered into between you and the company. It is not actually necessary to have a written and signed contract in place for a binding contract to have been created – the law simply requires an offer an acceptance and some consideration. So if you were made an offer by the company to work for them and you accepted that offer and communicated that to them, it is likely that a contract would be in place. If you never indicated your acceptance to their offer then you can argue that no contract was created.

If a contract was entered into, then you not proceeding with the job could place you in breach of contract. However, with the absence of anything in writing or a specific notice period you were due to give to terminate it, the employer could only pursue you for what could be considered a ‘reasonable’ notice period. This will vary from job to job and from one industry to another and only a court can decide what that is. They could for example claim for any losses incurred from a last minute change of heart by you, let’s say if having no one in your position lost them business. In any event they would have to justify those costs and prove they had been incurred. The more time there was between your rejection and the start date the more chances they would have had to reduce these costs and the less you would be liable.

In any event, such claims are very rarely made and often the parties just part ways with no further action. So do not worry too much at present and monitor the situation.

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Customer:

Ben thank you for your advice, very useful.

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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