Covid-19 and Force Majeure
So, with a slight delay, many lawyers seem to have appreciated the issue and are now dealing with it in their drafting. Their take up rate might even resemble the type of exponential curve with which we’re all now depressingly familiar.
Though a significant increase, the figure of 40% raises the question of the remaining 60% of contracts. In some cases, the lawyers concerned might be satisfied that general terms such as “natural disasters” or “acts of God” are sufficient. In other cases, it might be as part of deliberate risk allocation, although it would seem unusual for parties to have agreed to excuse failures due to force majeure yet, in the present climate, still want a party to perform despite a pandemic. Whatever the reason, it would seem preferable for a contract being signed today which includes a force majeure clause to deal expressly with the consequences of COVID-19.
The ContractProbe contract review tool has always checked for the presence of force majeure clauses and given information on their content and significance. In light of the current crisis, we’ve now broken those review rules out into a separate rule set (a COVID-19 scan) so that users can get a very targeted review on this particular issue.
As a service to the community in these unprecedented times, we’ve decided to offer complimentary use for a limited time of our tool for users to review one of their contracts to get information on whether the contract would protect them against a problem caused by COVID-19. To take advantage of this offer, they just need to email us at email@example.com with the words COVID-19 in the subject line. We’ll send them their no obligations password to take one of their contracts through its paces.
Valuable Lesson from Optimum Productions
Sometimes you will want a Court or arbitrator to have exclusive jurisdiction. Sometimes you will want non-exclusive jurisdiction. However, you should never leave this important issue unclear.
You can make sure your contract does not miss important issues like this by running them through ContractProbe before they are signed and saving your company millions in avoidable litigation costs within seconds!
No more Arbitration in LA: The Dangers of Skipping Contract Review
Victorian Society for Computers and the Law Panel on New Australian Encryption Laws
The full discussion can be viewed for a limited time here.
Signing a Contract without a Jurisdiction Provision can be a Costly Mistake
An Important Message to all Sole Traders and Contractors
In other words, watch out: the consumer laws give enforcement powers to both parties the ability to issue and seek orders requiring a supplier to provide redress. Scan your Consulting Contracts with ContractProbe or learn how to determine whether a term in the contract is unfair here.
ContractProbe Voted № 1 Lawtech Startup
ContractProbe Selected for Legal Technology Accelerator
Australia's 10th-largest law firm Mills Oakley has revealed the first two start-ups it will support through its $500,000 accelerator program, with the founder of one a former 21-year Allens partner who claims his robot will "kill the billable hour dead".
Mills Oakley chief executive John Nerurker flagged last year that up to six start-ups would enter the first intake of the program, which it is paying Melbourne-based innovation consultancy Collective Campus to run.
Only two of 35 applicants were deemed to have products sufficiently advanced and commercially viable to test on Mills Oakley lawyers, with the firm taking a 7 per cent equity stake in each.
One is Speak To Scout, the Brisbane-based builder of a "chatbot" claiming to give personalised legal guidance to consumers researching online. Mr Nerurker said an obvious application of the product was as a referrer for migration law advice, or it could be customised for in-house legal counsel to help them find and instruct external legal providers.
The other is ContractProbe, an automator of contract reviews developed by Michael Pattison, a technology lawyer at Allens for 31 years (21 of them as a partner) until last May, when he decided "now or never" and took the leap into entrepreneurship.
Contract review automation is already a competitive field, with global players like Kira Systems getting installed by Australian firms like DLA Piper, however Mr Pattison claimed his product was different.
"There's plenty of systems that will help you draft a contract, ContractProbe comes into its own when you receive a copy of a contract as part of a negotiation," he told The Australian Financial Review.
Learning from new contracts
ContractProbe has been "trained" on thousands of executed non-disclosure agreements, consultancy agreements, employment agreements and technology licences. However Mr Pattison, who has a Masters in Computer Science from RMIT, claimed it also has an artificial intelligence "front-end" capable of learning from new contracts it processes, so that it is able to identify missing clauses or clauses that are unusual.
Exhibiting at ABA TechShow 2017
The ContractProbe booth had an eye-catching inflatable boxing kangaroo and Cherry Ripe candy, a nod to their Australian origins. But what caught our eye were these stress balls in the shape of a brain, perfect for the parent company of the product, Neural Contract Company.
The Pitch: “ContractProbe will cut down substantially the length of time you have to spend on reviewing a contract. ContractProbe will also make your work easier. No one likes proofreading documents for the types of errors that ContractProbe picks up. ContractProbe takes that weight off your shoulders and allows you to decide simply whether you’re concerned about a particular problem or not. Finally, ContractProbe reduces the risks of missing important clauses in contracts.”