Are you crushed by small print?

Watch out for the rolling contract. Terms and conditions apply, but many doctors get caught out, warns Michael Rourke.

steamrollerAlchemists sought to turn base metal into gold, but their searches and efforts proved fruitless.

Physicists have studied the cosmos and determined there can be no perpetual motion due to the laws of thermodynamics.

But lawyers have worked out how to turn base letters into gold, through the perpetual – or at least rolling – contract.

A typical complaint made by non-lawyers when reading contract terms will be that they are all ‘small print’ and written in ‘legalese’.

Contracts are typically drafted by lawyers, to be understood by lawyers with legal certainty in mind, rather than with the aim of being usable or understandable by those who read or sign them.

Despite this, it is essential that anyone in private practice does not sign without reading and understanding or they may fall into various traps. This article is concerned with one trap for the unwary, concerning how long the contract is going to last. This is sometimes called the ‘term’ or ‘duration’ of the contract.