Dealing with contracts can be very complex. The Professional Services Team can assist members with contract reviews and offers template private practice contracts.
A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that the law will enforce. There are four main elements of a legally binding contract: offer, acceptance, intention to create legal relations, and consideration.
Contracts can be verbal or written. A contract does not have to be in writing to be enforceable, but a written contract creates certainty between the parties and will be easier to enforce.
The following types of contracts are common in private practice:
Aside from employment agreements which are governed by employment law, these contracts are generally commercial agreements and the parties can negotiate on contractual terms within the limits of applicable laws and regulations (e.g. health, commercial and contract laws).
Key contractual terms
The contract should accurately set out the agreement and expectations of the practitioner and practice principal. You should not be pressured or coerced into signing a contract. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with the terms of the contract, don’t sign it. Once you enter into the contract, it will become a legal binding agreement. You can’t make changes to a contract unilaterally. Changes can only be made with the agreement of both parties.
A dispute is less likely to arise if both parties are happy from the outset. If the contract is not clear or certain or if you can’t agree on a term, you should discuss it with the other party to clarify the matter and try and reach agreement. There is often some negotiation that takes place before agreement is reached. You should review any amendments carefully to ensure that any revised contract reflects the terms negotiated and agreed.