What is a contract?
A contract is like a promise between people. It is an understanding, a deal between two or more people or organisations to do certain things. Each person or organisation who agrees to do something in a contract is called a party.
An agreement, or a contract, says what you and the other person or organisation have agreed to do. It is a written list of the promises you have made. The best form of contract is written on paper and signed by each party.
Some examples of contracts include:
- Entry forms: when you enter your work into an exhibition, festival or competition
- Consent / Release forms: when someone wants your permission to show images of you or your work in public
- Gallery agreements and publishing licences: when showing work in a gallery, or if your work is published
- Funding agreements: when you receive funding
- Studio agreements: when working in a supported studio or a program run by an organisation
Why is a contract used?
A contract is used when people or organisations have agreed to do something together. A contract is often used to:
- say what is expected of you
- say what you expect of the other person or organisation
- protect each other’s needs and rights
- make each party more responsible for what that party promises to do
- say what happens if a party does not keep its promise.
What should you do before making a contract?
Before making a contract:
- Make sure you understand what is promised to you and what you are promising. You have the right to ask that a contract is explained to you with simple words before signing it. You could also ask someone you trust to read it and explain it to you.
- The contract and any explanation of its meaning should meet your communication needs. You have the right to ask that a contract is provided in alternative formats, such as:
- large print
- Auslan interpretation
- Make sure that the contract really protects your interests.
- Only make promises which you can keep.
- Write your contract down and make sure that everyone involved has signed it.
- Get legal advice, to make sure that the contract is a good one for you.
What happens if you or the other person, organisation or party does not follow the contract?
- If a person, organisation or party does not keep its promise they are in breach of your contract.
- Learn how to protect yourself if an agreement has been breached in Taking action: what are the legal steps?
- Make sure you understand what is promised to you and what you are asked to promise before agreeing to anything.
- Ask questions and get legal advice if you don’t understand a document.
- A good contract should say:
- what you and the other party needs
- what you and the other party promise to do
- what responsibilities you and the other party have
- when each party will do the things it has promised to do
- what will happen if a party does not keep its promise
- You have rights if the other party to the contract does not keep its promise.
- Never sign anything that you don’t understand.
- Never sign anything that you don’t agree with.
- Do not promise something that you cannot provide.
- Put your contract in writing.
- Always keep a copy of all documents that you sign