• Variations to standards contracts


    Of course contracts can be, and very many are, concluded with conditions differing from those of the standard forms of contract (GCA and ECC - See 04, Contracts), as long as these are well understood and are clearly set out in unambiguous language, leaving no room for differing interpretations. For example, one might agree to change the weight tolerance in Article 2 of the ECC from 3% to 5%, in which case the contract should include a paragraph to the effect that 'Article 2 of ECC is amended for this contract by mutual agreement to read a tolerance of 5%'.

    If a modification to an existing contract is agreed then this should be confirmed in writing, preferably countersigned by both parties. Adding the words 'without prejudice to the original terms and conditions of the contract' ensures that the modification does not result in unintended or unforeseen change to the original contract. A modification that is not confirmed in writing could subsequently be repudiated or disputed by one of the parties, for example during arbitration proceedings. Human memory is fallible and there is nothing offensive in ensuring that all matters of record are on record.

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