Contractors' Questions: Verbal extension retracted - do I have any rights?


I was offered an extension to my current contract, I actually saw the internal paperwork. Unfortunately I can't get hold of my agent to check if they received anything. I was on the project resource for the project.

This offer was retracted on Friday without real explanation. I have two weeks to the end of the current contract. My question is as it was a verbal offer and the new contract period hadn't started can they do this, effectively not giving notice? There is a one month notice period on either side in the original contract.

Answer kindly provided by Roger Sinclair at Egos:

The question is whether or not there was in fact any contract formed for the new extension; who made the 'offer', how, and to whom? Was this offer in fact accepted, if so by whom, and how? Retracting the offer – who did so, how, to whom?

The 'first base' that you have to get past in a situation like his is to show that there was in fact a contract formed for a fresh extension. Here, this will mean offer (to you / your company), acceptance (by you / your company), and communication of acceptance (to the agency you are contracting with), all in circumstances where (a) the terms of the proposed contract are sufficiently clear, and (b) there is a mutual intent to be legally bound. Internal paperwork not addressed to you probably doesn't help.

If you get past that first base, it is then a question of who could terminate that contract, in what circumstances, and on what terms; I'd need to review the current contract to consider this.

Third base is whether or not the new contract was terminated legitimately; if so, what the other party's obligations are; and if not, then what the consequences of that breach are.

And the home run: what loss have you suffered as a result? Take into account your obligations to mitigate your losses by doing the best you can to find another contract elsewhere.


Tuesday 17th Oct 2006