Can Letters of Intent Help You Avoid Lawyers?

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Sarah Fox

November 2016

A paper presented to the Society of Construction Law at a meeting in Derby on 22nd November 2016

In an industry where time is always at a premium and paperwork rarely makes it to the top of the ‘to do’ list, letters of intent have become a convenient means of getting projects started quickly.  In the hope that the full contract will get signed, and in the flurry of pre-construction activity, writers and users of letters of intent rarely check whether their letter of intent is fit for its purpose.  Sarah Fox looks at whether letters of intent help users avoid disputes, confusion and ultimately lawyers.  She describes what is and is not a letter of intent, what is wrong with them, how to create a contract and how letters of intent can bind the parties.  This paper answers whether letters of intent will make you count their cost or help you do business, and concludes by recommending simplicity as one of the three necessary facets of an effective letter.

What is a letter of intent? – What is not a letter of intent? – What is wrong with letters of intent? – Are letters of intent contracts? – When does a letter of intent create a contract? – Counting the cost of letters of intent – Helping the parties do business – Why use simple contracts? – Towards a solution – Conclusion.

The author: Sarah Fox is a speaker, consultant and author of How to write simple and effective letters of intent in just 500 words (500 Words Ltd, 2016,

Text 14 pages.

Paper number: 
November 2016, online, 385k

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