Commercial Contract & Business Sale
The importance of early advice in relation to commercial contract disputes whether brewing or already on foot cannot be over-emphasised.
Appreciating at the outset where you stand if the matter is litigated to trial is vital to formulating a strategy to resolve it. Much like chess, or in conflict, the best outcome is achieved by those who are best prepared for it. With proper preparation the best result can often be achieved without the need to go to Court at all.
Classic, Collector & Prestige Cars
The disputes that crop up in the classic, collector and prestige car context are legion, but many can be avoided with some thought and appropriate advice. This section illustrates some of the issues that can arise. The answer to each is to seek professional advice. There is unfortunately no shortcut. Doing so at the outset should, however, prevent more expensive difficulties further down the line.
Title to a vehicle?
Title means ownership of the vehicle. Most importantly it gives you the right to sell it. However, it is not something written down that you can hold in your hand. There is no single document that proves it. A V5 is not proof of ownership. Whilst ownership of a house is registered at the Land Registry, there is no such registry for vehicles. So, how can you tell whether someone offering a vehicle for sale actually owns it? How can you prove that you own your vehicle, if you need to? The answer is that you can only do your best to assemble all possible elements of proof. It is vital that you do though. What those are depend on the vehicle and what sources are available. No-one would buy a house without advice. A valuable vehicle deserves the same treatment. It prevents problems further down the line, which by then have usually become much more expensive.
Selling as an agent or principal?
An agent does not own the vehicle but a principal does. It is not always clear, except in the detailed terms and conditions, whether the seller is agent or principle. It can make a big difference to a buyer’s rights. Again, checking the terms and conditions is vital.
The same applies to provenance. The rights of a buyer depend on the terms and conditions of sale, and on the nature and quality of the representations made about provenance. If provenance is important, as it usually is for a classic or collector car, it is vital that both the evidence of provenance and the rights being conferred are properly understood. Seeking appropriate advice before buying avoids potential problems further down the line.
A buyer at auction has very little by way of legal protections and usually gets very few legal rights beyond the seller’s promise of title. It is vital that buyers go to auctions with that firmly in mind. A brief look at the vehicle’s shiny paintwork in the auction room is no substitute for homework done beforehand, and for calling in expertise to research and inspect. Again, better to know what can be known beforehand than after you become the proud owner.