Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.
Hi there. How long has money been owed to you and please can you also tell me whether the contractor has asked for you to sign and return the agreement to them?
OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court for the remainder of today so will prepare my advice in a while and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.
Many thanks for your patience. A contract can be legally binding even if it has not been signed by the parties. There could be an implied acceptance to its terms if all parties were issued with a copy of it and were aware of its contents and had started to work under its terms. So for example, if you were given a copy of the contract and had started to do the jobs under it and to receive pay as per its terms or adhere to any other of its clauses, there could be an implied acceptance by you to this contract even if you had not signed it. So a formal signature is not always required for the contract to be legally binding and enforceable.
Saying that it does not mean you should just accept the situation and if needed you can challenge the other party’s actions and try to apply some pressure to get them to change their tactics and to pay you, at least for some of the work. Whilst you can go to court if needed, this should be a last resort and in the meantime there are other steps you can follow if needed to try and twist their arm a bit.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on taking this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Hi there, yes you are correct that both parties need to adhere to the contract – it is not possible for one party to just pick and choose the terms they want to apply and ignore the rest, it is an all or nothing approach really. So if the employer has failed to follow their part of the contract they can be accused of being in breach of contract in the first place, making the whole contract void and therefore not being able to rely on the remaining terms as a result.
If you wanted to pursue him for the money owed, whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:
1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.
2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.
3. Before you consider starting legal action you may wish to consider sending a formal statutory demand. This is a legal request which asks the debtor to pay the outstanding debt within 21 days and failure to do so will allow you to bankrupt the debtor (if they are an individual ) or wind up the company (if they are a business). For the relevant forms to serve a statutory demand see here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands/forms-to-issue-a-statutory-demand
4. If you wish to go down the legal route instead of a statutory demand, a claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.
Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.