Monday, May 14, 2012

Verbal Contracts and Managing Disputes Under UK Law

Certainty and Completeness of Agreement
Agreement is reached between contracting parties when an offer is made by one party and is unequivocally accepted by the other party. The offer must be sufficiently certain so as the parties know what is to be done by them, and the agreement must be complete, in the legal sense. An agreement is incomplete when an essential term has not been agreed or there are further matters to be agreed. Agreements 'in principle' are usually considered not to be complete, as are contracts expressly stated to be 'subject to contract'. In deciding whether a contract is complete, a court will consider a contract to be formed when, from the viewpoint of an officious bystander, the parties have agreed in the same terms on the same subject matter.
Verbal Contracts and Conduct
There is no legal impediment to two (or even more) parties entering into a contract based on their conduct and verbal statements or representations. Obviously, when the parties agree the terms of the contract by verbal statements, the binding terms of the contract are more difficult to ascertain and prove. Usually a court will look to the history of the performance of the parties to obtain assistance in determining what was actually agreed by the parties. Where one person however has not performed their part of the bargain, the court is left to more uncertain means in reaching a decision. Draft contract documents, emails, letters and order forms may lend assistance to deciding the terms of a verbal agreement, and courts have used similar agreements with third parties to apply a standard of reasonableness in determining the terms of the contract in the absence of writing.
Confirmation in Writing
In the event that a party refuses to sign a contract or an oral agreement is reached, in our view, it is essential to write to the person and confirm the terms of the contract as they are understood, to provide a greater degree of certainty - that may be proved by evidence at a later date - what the actual terms of the contract were. It may be useful to know that where a verbal agreement has been reached, which is later confirmed in writing but the written document does not properly record the terms, the contract may be rectified using the doctrine of rectification so as to reflect the actual agreement between the parties.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Law Schools Offer Accredited Master of Laws (LLM) Programs to Lawyers Online

With the advent of globalization, lawyers now need to know international and comparative laws. Generally, the legal profession has seen a rise in cross-border issues vis-à-vis international trade, intellectual property and technology, transnational workers and families, human rights, and socio-economic and environmental policies. While traditionally a Master of Laws (LL.M.) is a coveted degree for those in academia, in recent times, more and more practicing lawyers are enrolling in LL.M. programs to enhance their professional skills and gain specialized knowledge.
Many brick-and-mortar law schools (as opposed to wholly online universities) now offer lawyers the opportunity to earn an LL.M. degree online:
• University of Aberdeen located in Aberdeen, Scotland offers online LL.M. degree in International Business.
• Boston University School of Law located in Boston, United States offers online Executive LL.M. degree in International Business.
• Chapman University located in California, United States offers online LL.M. degree in Trial Advocacy/Prosecutorial Science.
• Dundee Law School located in Scotland, United Kingdom offers online LL.M. degree in International Dispute Resolution and Healthcare Law and Ethics.
• The University of Edinburgh School of Law located in Edinburgh, Scotland offers online LL.M. degree in Innovation and Technology, Intellectual Property Law, Medical Law and Ethics.
• New York University Law School located in New York, United States offers online Executive LL.M. degree in Taxation.
• Nottingham School of Law (University of Nottingham) located in Nottingham, United Kingdom offers online LL.M. in Public Procurement Law and Policy.
• Queen Mary, University of London located in London, United Kingdom offers online LL.M. degree in Computer and Communication Law.
A wide variety of online LL.M. programs are offered by two law schools located in England and Canada:
• University of London (External Systems) located in London, England offers online LL.M. degrees in General Master of Laws, as well as specializations in Banking and Finance Law, Financial Services, Commercial, Corporate and Securities Law, Economic Regulation, International Business Law, Common Law, Corporate and Foreign Law, Antitrust and Competition Law, Information Technology Law, Criminal Justice/Criminology, Sports Law, Tax Law, Public International Law, Health and Medical Law, International Justice, Legal Theory and Philosophy and Maritime Law.
• Osgood Hall Law School of York University located in Toronto, Canada offers online LL.M. degrees in Professional Development in Litigation/Arbitration/Mediation/Dispute Resolution, Banking, Finance and Securities, Constitutional Law, Criminal Justice/Criminal Law/Criminology, Family/Child Law, Health and Medical Laws, Intellectual Property, Employment and Labor Law, Municipal Law, Real Estate and Property Law, Securities Regulation, Tax and Trusts Law.
Online LL.M. programs offer greater flexibility to lawyers who are employed. Lawyers can learn at their own pace without having to take a break from work or physically relocate. Additionally, lawyers can choose from a greater number of LL.M. programs from anywhere in the world. Also, online LL.M. programs can be less expensive.
Prior to choosing an online LL.M. program, however, potential applicants should research and know the specifics. Among other things, consider the reputation of the program and the law school, teacher credentials and expertise, tuition fee and other costs, Internet connectivity, class size, school calendar, teaching methods and the availability supplemental help. Online learning maybe the best possible option for practicing lawyers to develop their skills professionally and keep pace with the emerging legal issues due to globalization.