In Scots contract law, in addition to the written or verbal terms agreed between you and the other party to the contract, there are certain things that are implied into the contract by law, regardless whether you or the person you contracted with intended it to be or not. In practice, this means that the contract agreed between you and the third party will always have extra provisions that may not have been explicitly agreed between you. Implied terms for the provision of goods are generally more well-known and publicised but contracts for services also have implied terms.
A contract for services arises when the other party to the contract agree to work for you and to use their vocational or professional skills for your benefit for a set period of time and for a fixed purpose. Such as a plumber, electrician or solicitor among others. Implied terms in service contracts can include: –
1 – Time
The law says that performance of obligations under a contract for services must be completed within a reasonable time. This becomes relevant when your contract does not explicitly agree a specific time that obligations under a contract need be performed i.e. a plumber doing works for you within a specific time frame. When this implied term is invoked, then a court considering this issue, will decide what a reasonable time means when taking into account all the circumstances of the case.
2 – Care and Quality
The law also implies that the person carrying out work under a services contract for you, will undertake the work on the basis that they will do so to a reasonable standard of care and quality of work of a person working in that trade. A court deciding on this issue will take into account all the circumstances of the case and determine if the work carried met the implied standard. This means that if a person is providing services for you, holds themselves out as being a competent person working in that particular trade, then you are entitled to assume that they will discharge their work to a competent standard. If they do not, you are entitled to raise a claim in court that relies on a breach of this implied term.
3 – Scope
Another implied term that would be relevant is one regarding the scope of the services that is provided to you. In simple terms, if you contract with a plumber to do work in your bathroom only, and they do work in your kitchen and expects payment for this, it implied by law that they are not entitled to payment for the extra work. If this type of case goes to court, it will probably be the case that in order to prove that the contract only extended to certain works, then you will need to provide sufficient evidence to the court on this point in order to be successful.
If you think that any of these implied terms have been breached in a contract that you are party to, then get in touch with one of our specialist dispute resolution solicitors.