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As a service provider, we have been providing services to a particular business for almost a year now. No contract or framework has been signed for the services provided. A contract negotiation has been going on for a year but the services still provided by us. This business has made some payments in the past but not in full and has refused to make payments for the whole of last year indicating since there was no contract during that period they cannot make the payments. We have been sending them invoices during those periods. Right now we want to stop providing them services and make sure we get payments for the services provided. My questions are;

  1. Since there was no contract signed can we still recover our invoices legally speaking?
  2. Can they send us to court if the services are stopped?
  3. Considering there is no contract signed between us, can they be considered as our client?

Please note that this business is a JV between us and another company. We need them to pay our invoices. Is there any legal advice we can use to get them to pay us.

Thank you

  • Currently the client is proposing to pay at a ridiculous amount. Something that we will definitely loss. – asembereng Apr 7 '16 at 9:08
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This is a get lawyer question because there are so many variables. The fact that there is no written contract does not necessarily mean there is no contract. That would depend upon the law of your jurisdiction. That said, if you provided services and they accepted those services, it is likely there is a contract.

Since there was no contract signed can we still recover our invoices legally speaking?

Very often, yes.

Can they send us to court if the services are stopped?

I can take you to court for something. But would I win? Would they?

It is possible for there to be something that could make you liable if you stopped providing services. Check with a lawyer with whom you provide the full facts.

Considering there is no contract signed between us, can they be considered as our client?

They could be.

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You need to be the client of a lawyer in order to analyze all the details of your situation, but there could be an effective oral contract in place that might have been breached. Alternatively, there is the concept of quantum meruit which Google defines as:

a reasonable sum of money to be paid for services rendered or work done when the amount due is not stipulated in a legally enforceable contract.

My answers are:

  1. You might be able to still recover your invoices either by alleging an oral contract and demonstrating evidence in support of that, or by using the quantum meruit approach (in court) to request payment of a reasonable amount absent a contract.

  2. If they are not paying on the grounds that there was no contract or that if there was a contract it's now over (and you have that clearly on record), then you can stop the services on the same grounds and they can't readily turn around and successfully sue you for breaching a contract they claim doesn't exist or is no longer in force.

  3. Considered your client by whom (who is doing the considering) and for what purpose? E.g. for taxes, you still have to pay any applicable taxes on the money you did receive for work done, like any other client. If you're making an assertion, could you state it more specifically (e.g. that you "have done work for" this company)? You have, in the past, done work for this firm and been voluntarily paid for that work, so for most purposes it seems the answer is yes, but "by whom and for what purpose" is an important question. If they are currently asserting that there is no contract and they're not paying you for anything, then you would have a hard time saying they are your client at present, for most purposes.

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