The start of a new year marks a fresh start when many of us are considering the changes we wish to make for the coming year. These are often lifestyle changes made with the intention of self-improvement, such as joining a gym or quitting smoking. But why stop there? The start of a new year is also the perfect time to prepare for the year ahead by reviewing and updating your businesses standard Terms and Conditions.
Whilst you may have T&Cs in place, in an ever evolving economic and regulatory environment, they may no longer be as fit for purpose as they once were. As we enter 2023, the cost of living crisis remains a prominent issue to consider. With costs continuing to rise, you may wish to consider building price adjustment clauses into your T&Cs in order to allow flexibility. The last few years have also seen many businesses face supply chain issues, suggesting that the possibility of not being able to obtain necessary materials should be taken into account when drafting or amending your standard T&Cs. In other words, your Terms and Conditions should reflect the challenges that your business may face and be able to effectively protect your business against possible liability.
When should I review my T&Cs?
Reviewing your standard Terms and Conditions on a regular basis is the best way to ensure that they are up-to-date and serving your business needs effectively. It may be worthwhile to consider doing this once or twice a year in order to make certain that any changes to your business, or to the regulatory or economic background, are accounted for effectively.
What are the benefits of reviewing my T&Cs?
Your standard Terms and Conditions are likely forming the backbone of many of your business’ commercial relationships, legally protecting your company and outlining the rights and obligations of all parties involved. This means that as your business develops or changes, it is necessary to make sure that your T&Cs do not get left behind, possibly leaving you exposed.
Up-to-date Terms and Conditions are also necessary to effectively protect your business’ intellectual property, particularly when supplying goods or services. Additionally, should your business find itself in a situation where it is being let down by a customer or supplier, for example, a clearly drafted set of T&Cs is vital in establishing the remedies available in cases of breach of contract.
Regularly reviewing your T&Cs is beneficial in minimising possible risks by ensuring that they reflect current regulatory and legislative standards, as well as your own company policies and business practices. This means that you can rest assured that your company is compliant with all necessary laws and regulations and that any potential liability that can be limited has been limited accordingly, reducing your exposure and risk.
Engaging in regular reviews will also allow your commercial lawyers to make small tweaks to T&Cs, rather than needing a total redraft of outdated terms which is likely to be a much higher cost.
Berry Smith Comment:
We cannot overstate the importance of a robust, fit for purpose set of T&Cs. These are essential for protecting your business’ interests and are so often overlooked as businesses focus instead on the day to day operations. A robust set of Terms and Conditions can only enhance your business and it is imperative that they offer the necessary legal protection. Therefore, committing to the regular review of your standard T&Cs is not only advisable, but may prove to be one of the best new year’s resolutions you can make.
The Commercial & IP Team at Berry Smith can provide specialist advice on drafting and amending terms and conditions, as well as general commercial and business advice.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issue raised in this article or any other aspect of Commercial law at 029 2034 5511 or firstname.lastname@example.org