Contractors' Questions: Should contract spaces be filled in later?

Contractor's Question: I landed a contract yesterday - my recruitment agent has sent it to me to sign and return. However in the "Statement of Work" section of my contract, there is only blank space under the sentence, "The work conducted at xxx is detailed as follows:" Does this, plus the blank space, suggest that this part is going to be filled in later i.e. once I've started working? If so, is it OK for me to return the contract on that understanding?

Expert's Answer: It is dangerous to sign a contract that has not been fully completed and leave it for someone else to fill in later, despite what your agent might say. There is the risk that they could put something in the contract that you would never have agreed to (not necessarily on purpose), and you could find yourself having to do it.

My advice is to go back to the agent and ask them to complete this part of the contract. If it is the case that the work detail isn't yet known, then they should amend the contract to make this clear.

The expert was Gary Cousins, a solicitor at legal advisors Cousins Business Law.

Monday 28th Jun 2010