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Letters of Intent

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Chapter Summary

The negotiations that precede parties' agreement may give rise to obligations and potential partners may lose part of their freedom of action and may have to comply with certain behavioral standards. This is true when the contract relates to a complex operation, for which negotiations may take months or even years. During the prolonged gestation of their agreements, negotiators often feel the need to create a series of preparatory documents titled letter of intent or memorandum of understanding. This chapter investigates legal effect of such documents and offers advice to potential drafters. It looks at French, Belgian and English law. The chapter also makes reference to other legal systems. To illustrate a variety of positive situations, it is presented in the form of various cases. It then tries to formulate a theoretical synthesis of the nature and legal effect of letters of intent. Finally, it offers practical recommendations to negotiators.

Keywords: agreements; contract; legal systems; letters of intent; memorandum of understanding; negotiations; negotiators; obligations



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