CPD Hours Level
Conference expert panelInformation 6 UpdateInformation
SRA Competency B


From recent case law on consequential loss, misrepresentation and implied terms through to an assessment of how to spot areas of conflict and head them off before they escalate, this conference provides extensive practical guidance on the law, practice and tactics of contracts, from drafting to disputes.

Aimed at private practice and in-house counsel, it will appeal to all those who need to keep up to date with the latest developments.

Conference Agenda

This conference will cover the following:

9.30am - 10.15am: Hot Topics in Contract Law: Recent Leading Cases

Chair: Richard Stephens, The Law Office of Richard Stephens

Contract law underpins commerce and business depends on stability - but the courts do change contract law and sometimes there are complete reversals of approach. It is essential to stay up to date with the current trends and how to draft contracts which take account of the latest developments.

This session will cover:

  • Liabilities - when do lawyers need to worry about UCTA when drafting standard clauses and how will the courts approach exclusion clauses?
  • Consequential loss - the latest thinking
  • Misrepresentation - the humble non-reliance and entire agreement clauses get a dusting over by the Court of Appeal
  • Discretions - the courts have had plenty of opportunity to look at these clauses and the law on them is developing fast in consequence
  • Good faith - does English law have such a doctrine in its contract law or not? What does it mean if there is such a doctrine?
  • Formation of contract - is the law moving away from its previous generous approach to finding ‘offer and acceptance’

10.15am - 11.00am: Drafting Boilerplate Clauses with (Avoiding) Disputes in Mind

Keith Markham

This session discusses a series of topical issues which those drafting boilerplate clauses need to be aware of. A series of cases will be discussed with the emphasis on practical steps to take to avoid repeating the mistakes that others have made.

This session will cover:

  • Non-assignment clauses - how effective are they in practice?
  • Force majeure - recent case law on interpreting these clauses and also what is required by an obligation to use reasonable endeavours to remedy the situation
  • No oral modification clauses - in what circumstances do they work?
  • Liquidated damages - applying the two limbed test in business to business contracts

11.15am - 12.00pm: Contract Interpretation and Implied Terms: The Courts’ Changing Approaches

Dov Ohrenstein, Radcliffe Chambers

This will address the practical implications of the most important recent cases including Arnold v Britton, Marks & Spencers v BNP Paribas, Wood v Capita Insurance Services, and Persimmon Homes v Ove Arup.

This session will cover:

  • Should interpretation and implication of terms be considered as distinct exercises?
  • Can you override the natural meaning of contractual language?
  • Do you need ambiguity before background and context become relevant to interpretation?
  • Does the business efficacy test for implication of terms require necessity to be proven?
  • How is reasonableness relevant to implication and interpretation?
  • Is the contra proferentem rule still relevant?

12.00pm - 12.45pm: Notice Provisions & Breach of Warranty Claims - Beware the Pitfalls

Keith Markham

This session discusses a series of topical issues which those drafting notice provisions and seeking to bring breach of warranty claims need to be aware of.

A series of cases will be discussed with the emphasis on practical steps to take to avoid repeating the mistakes that others have made.

  • What notice provisions should be inserted into a vendor protection schedule?
  • Timing provisions - notification; issue and service
  • Knowledge requirements - what is meant by the phrase ‘becoming aware of the matter’?
  • Content of notice - how detailed does the notice have to be? Does it need to refer to specific provisions in order to be effective?
  • Manner of service - what constitutes valid service of a notice? Will being left at a location suffice?

12.45pm - 1.00pm: Questions on Morning Session

2.00pm - 2.50pm: How to Prevent a Contractual Dispute & Stop it Escalating

Andrew Hildebrand, Hildebrand Mediation

Knowing how to manage a dispute properly can be invaluable - but the real wisdom is not in the fire-fighting. It is the ability to spot a conflict and defuse it. Or better still, to head it off and prevent the dispute escalating.

This session will cover:

  • Why arguments happen
  • How to spot the warning signs
  • How to head them off
  • The advantages of mediating early
  • How to use these skills to make your negotiations more successful

2.50pm - 3.40pm: How to Manage a Contentious Dispute & Get the Right Result

Andrew Hildebrand, Hildebrand Mediation

Contractual disputes can be expensive, time-consuming and potentially destructive. But they don’t need to be.

Managed correctly, you can get your dispute resolved safely and cost-effectively and get what you want within a matter of weeks.

This session will cover:

  • Litigate, arbitrate or mediate - how to decide what’s your best option
  • How to get a dispute ripe for mediation - tactics and legal considerations
  • How to prepare for mediation
  • The art of mediating successfully - do’s and don’ts on the day
  • How to apply these skills to improve your business

3.55pm - 4.45pm: Negotiating Skills in Contracts

John Trimbos

Negotiation is a key skill for lawyers in agreeing contracts and settling disputes on behalf of clients.

This session will cover:

  • Different negotiating styles and their pros and cons
  • The art of assertive trading
  • Projecting and reading body language
  • Planning and preparation essentials
  • Practical case study

4.45pm - Close: Questions & Answers

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