• Commercial Law

    Commercial Law

    We are business people as much as we are lawyers. We will take care of the legal documents so you can confidently run your business.
    As your business grows, its risk profile and governance challenges will change. We partner with our clients over the long term to ensure they are in the driver’s seat for success.

  • Dispute Resolution

    Dispute Resolution

    We are in your corner when the going gets tough. Having resolved over 6,500 disputes for business owners have seen it all before.

    Whether you need a skilled negotiator or a fearless litigator, we specialise in delivering commercial results when:

    Customers refuse to pay;
    Suppliers let you down; and
    Business Partners do the wrong thing.

  • Employment & Safety

    Employment & Safety

    The biggest challenge for any business owner, is managing their employees.

    A difficult employee can make you question why you got into business in the first place and be toxic to your team morale.

    We deliver proactive solutions to manage your team via employment contracts, policies and procedures as well as handling employment disputes when they arise.

  • Property & Construction

    Property & Construction

    Property is the key most wealth in Australia.  Whether you are buying, selling, leasing or developing property, you need a lawyer you can count on.

    We can advise on the whole property development process from obtaining finance to development approvals, construction and sale or leasing.

    We also act for the Master Builders Victoria and have extensive expertise in construction contracts and disputes.

  • Family Law

    Family Law

    At Taurus Legal Management we understand the unique challenges clients encounter during family disputes, especially when children are involved. Our family lawyers specialise in handling high-asset cases with a focus on protecting clients wealth, securing their family’s future, and safeguarding the best interests of their children.


I Don’t Have a Written Agreement: Can I Still Make My Customer Pay?

The short answer to this question is… yes!

So, what constitutes a binding agreement then?

An agreement is enforceable if it meets the requirements to be a valid contract in the eyes of the law. A legally binding, or “enforceable”, contract can take many different forms.  It may sit on a spectrum from:

  • Being purely verbal; or
  • Evidenced by continued conduct; or
  • An email chain showing agreed terms accepted by your customer; or
  • A formal written agreement signed by both parties.

What all enforceable contracts have in common are certain elements which show the parties intended to enter a legally binding agreement and have the legal capacity to do so (i.e. are of sound mind and legal age).

Elements required to make an agreement legally binding

In summary, legally binding contracts are considered valid if they can show the following elements:

  • Intention of the parties to enter a legally binding contract;
  • An offer made by you and accepted by your customer;
  • A price paid in return for a promise; and
  • The parties entering the contract must have legal capacity.

However, contracts are not considered valid if they either:

  • Contain an agreement to do something illegal;
  • Contain a breach of other legal requirements; or
  • Are made between family members and were never intended to be legally enforced (such as pocket money paid from a parent to a child).

Proving agreements that aren’t written

The law will therefore recognise verbal agreements as enforceable if they satisfy the above elements of a valid contract.

If you only have a verbal agreement, a proven history of a customer buying your goods or services could also be used to show an agreement by conduct. The history can be used to show an understood set of terms. Other evidence of a valid contract could include a series of emails between your business and a customer, your recollection of the conversations and file notes of conversations with your customer. The best file notes will be those made at the time (or shortly after) each conversation.

Some contracts must be written

There are some contracts which the law will not accept other than if they are in writing, including:

  1. Agreements about buying, selling or mortgaging land and houses;
  2. Consumer finance or credit arrangements;
  3. Agreements to buy a car from a licensed dealer;
  4. Door-to-door sales agreements; and
  5. Agreements for something to be done more than a year from when the agreement was entered into.

The better question therefore is: “What is the best form of agreement to have in order to ensure payment from my customers?” An agreement does not need to be written by a lawyer to be legally binding but to have the best opportunity to enforce the agreement, it should be written and signed by everyone involved.

Steps to making the customer pay

Once you reflect on your agreement and whether it is enforceable, you should then consider writing a letter of demand for payment.

In the letter you should clearly set out the terms of the agreement, how and when you have delivered your side of the bargain and the debt you are seeking to be paid. This would include, for example, the dates, reference and amounts of unpaid invoices.

If you do not receive a response, you can then issue proceedings in Court to recover the debt. Which Court you go to will depend on the amount of the debt.

You can view our Director’s video on tips for getting paid on time here.

For any other information on how Taurus Legal Management can help your business either in preparing written agreements or in recovering a debt, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced commercial lawyers on (03) 9481 2000 or info@tauruslawyers.com.au.

Posted by Taurus Legal Management