I’m regularly asked to advise on terms of business for the supply of many different types of employment services. Approaching the matter conservatively, I generally like to see sophisticated and robust provisions that cover many different eventualities. But that leads to complexity; and complex documents can be difficult to use.
If you are of that particular business disposition that leads you into litigation at the slightest provocation – “a devil to get into law suits“* – then you quite possibly do want the complex and sophisticated document, with all the bells and whistles, so that you can try out your arguments up through the appeals process and perhaps all the way to the High Court.
But if that’s not you – if you are more inclined to want to settle differences fairly – then you might be looking for something else.
Now, “something else” is not necessarily going to be shorter. There may still be a need to spell out agreements about how disputes will be resolved; and to do so in some detail. But if you are comfortable with your ability to negotiate satisfactory resolutions of your disagreements, it is often possible to take some short cuts – provided that you know where they are going to lead you.
And that’s why it is probably true that, after your scale of fees and expenses and a fair description of your services, your dispute resolution clause might just be the most important thing in your terms of business!
Andrew C. Wood
From The Great O’Dan by Joseph George Wood – possibly a relative, as I was made to learn it by heart as a young boy!