Contract law and negotiations in the United Kingdom

What do you need to know about UK business culture?

People from the UK do not like to be embarrassed and only accidentally say something that offends others. Hence, whether it is a common icebreaker topic or something serious, to foreigners, UK people can appear to be too polite. Sometimes, when asked for personal opinions, they may not give their honest feedback. It is necessary to read between the lines. At the beginning of the relationship, the followings are not recommended:

  • Greeting with a kiss
  • Hugging strangers
  • Slapping on the back
  • Asking personal questions

Topics to avoid:

  • Race
  • Class and class system
  • Age
  • Personal finance
  • The Royal family

What are negotiation tactics in the United Kingdom?

  • Meetings should be planned ahead a few days to fit everybody’s schedule.
  • Agenda, necessary equipment should also be prepared well in advance.
  • Action items discussed need to be recorded and sent to all attendees.
  • At the beginning of the meeting, action items of the previous one will be reviewed to make sure that everything is on track.
  • If you are meeting someone for the first time, you can give them some background information about your business.
  • You should try to be punctual, but it is acceptable if you are late a few minutes due to a valid reason.
  • UK people tend to look at facts and figures more than emotional tactics.
  • Senior people in the company will have the final decision.

How much is the contract worth in the United Kingdom?

Oral contracts do not have value in the UK. An agreement is accepted when it has been formally drafted in contractual terms. The contract needs to be signed and witnessed. Depending on the size, the contract may need to be reviewed by legal experts.

What are pricing policy, pressure and restraints in the United Kingdom?

Pricing depends on various factors such as cost, competitors, perceived values. It is also important to pay attention to the macro-economy, such as the overall situation of the European Union. Since oil is an important element of the UK economy, oil price also affects the price of other commodities. In recent years, price haggling has become more frequent in the UK. This should also be taken into consideration in pricing strategies.

What is the United Kingdom’s legal system?

The UK has three law systems:

  • English law: applied in England and Wales. It is based on the common law principles.
  • Northern Ireland law: applied in Northern Ireland. It is also based on the common law.
  • Scots law: applied in Scotland. This is a civil law system.

What is the arbitration and litigation in Italy?


  • In England and Wales
    • It is a popular way to resolve disputes.
    • It is a less formal process.
  • In Northern Ireland
    • It is popular among complex cases.
    • It is more private and confidential.
  • In Scotland
    • Arbitration is cost effective and more flexible than court.
    • Arbitration is also more confidential and less time-consuming.


  • In England and Wales
    • Limitation period varies depending on the claims.
    • Non-EU lawyers will not be admitted to courts.
  • In Northern Ireland
    • Limitation period is from 1 to 12 years.
    • EU lawyers can conduct commercial cases, but non-EU lawyers cannot.
  • In Scotland
    • A five-year limitation period is applied for contract and tort.
    • Other types of claims will have different periods.
    • Similar to other countries in the UK, non-EU lawyers will not be able to practice law here. EU lawyers will have to abide by Scots ethics.

Since UK consists of four different regions, with contracts and negotiations consideration, it is necessary to understand each market thoroughly to effectively plan your international expansion.

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