A recent course we ran on Contract Management discussed some points of English Law. They were surprised to learn that in English Law an agreement made verbally – with a few exceptions – was as binding as a formal written contract. When dealing with companies all over the globe a simple mistake could bind a company into a contract with dire consequences. Part of this course is to impart on the students to recognise that whilst a non- written engagement is part of the negotiation no verbal promises to commit are made.
It is quite an eye opener to think of the times we have committed to purchase goods or services verbally without realising what we are actually committing to. Good procurement and contract management will alleviate these problem areas.