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Essentials of Contracting

All business activities are governed by contractual relationships, and it is increasingly important to have an understanding of how contracts can be created and structured, and some of the various methods available to negotiate contracts, and to resolve disputes.
This course is not intended to turn delegates into lawyers. It is, however, intended to increase their appreciation of the reasons their lawyers take certain positions, and the ability to instruct lawyers more effectively.
The course will look at how contracts are created, and some of the main clauses that appear in contracts, together with a number of alternative contracting strategies and structures, all using real examples wherever possible. The course will then consider methods to be used in negotiating contracts, including techniques relating to negotiating on variations and claims.
The course will deal with commercial disputes arising from Major Business Agreements written in the English language, but will use techniques which have wide application to many types of contract in many countries.


  • A broad overview of contracting from both a legal and practical angle
  • Covers the whole life of a contract from formation through to dispute resolution
  • World class practice from other regions and industries
  • An introduction to new methods of dispute resolution

By attending this seminar, you will:

  1. Gain  an opportunity to review contracts and their importance to business
  2. Be able to get a broad view of importance of contracts and their role in the management of projects
  3. Understand the different roles of other documents associated with contracts (e.g. bonds, guarantees, letters of intent)
  4. Learn negotiation skills that will be usable in a wide range of situations
  5. Be brought up to date on the latest thinking in dispute resolution
  6. Improve your strategic thinking on how to develop contracts
  7. Learn tactical techniques for the drafting and management of contracts
  8. Improve your understanding of contract wording in the English language
  9. Identify where things can go wrong, and learn how to avoid problems, or mitigate their effects through well drafted contracts and good management
  10. Improve your ability to interface with other professionals working in a contract team

Programme Contents
Day 1
How contracts are formed

  • The reasons for using contracts
  • Basic principles in contract formation
  • Examples of formalities for contract formation
  • The use of written or oral contracts
  • Authority to sign a contract
  • Basic contractual structures
  • Use of different types of contract for different business models
  • Incorporation of other contract documents
  • Selecting the appropriate law to govern the contract

Day 2
Main contract provisions and associated issues

  • Obligation to perform work
  • Insurance and indemnities
  • Force majeure
  • Limits of liability
  • Consequential loss
  • Transfer of title and risk
  • Delivery and acceptance
  • Termination and Suspension
  • Warranty and guarantee periods
  • Notices
  • Entire Agreement 

Day 3
Other contractual documents and documents connected with the contract

  • Letters of Intent and Award
  • Bonds
  • Tender
  • Performance
  • Advance Payment
  • Retention
  • Parent Company Guarantees
  • Letter of Comfort and Awareness
  • Collateral Warranties
  • Use of commercial standard documents
  • How to use General and Special Conditions
  • Other ancillary documents

Day 4
Negotiation techniques

  • Roles in negotiations
  • Authority to negotiate
  • “Subject to Contract”, “Without Prejudice” and other ways to negotiate without commitment
  • Tactics and techniques for negotiation
  • Practical actions in negotiations
  • Agendas
  • Timekeeping
  • Minutes and records
  • Correspondence
  • Knowing how to recognize a “win”
  • When to walk away – and how to understand the consequences

Day 5
Dispute resolution

  • Comparison of litigation and arbitration
  • Litigation processes - evidence
  • Enforcement of court judgments
  • Arbitration – private dispute resolution
  • Location
  • Willingness of courts to get involved
  • Different rules
  • Enforcement of arbitration awards
  • Reasons for looking at alternative methods of dispute resolution
  • Expert determination
  • Adjudication
  • Mini-Arbitration
  • Pendulum Arbitration
  • Conciliation
  • Dispute Review Board and similar approaches to pre-appoint dispute resolution personnel and involve them in the contract
  • Mediation
  • Practical example of mediation techniques
  • Arb/Med and Med Arb – some problems
  • Enforcement of decisions or mediation agreements
  • Current trends around the world 
  • Drafting phased negotiation and dispute resolution clauses
  • Final questions and wrap-up       

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