Shaun Edwards-Wigan Warriors saga: Oral contract is binding, says sports lawyer

Wigan may be able to bring a claim against Shaun Edwards if he breaks an 'oral contract', says a sports lawyer.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 5:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 7:03 pm
Shaun Edwards with Ian Lenagan in August

Peter Stewart, an associate at Cooke, Young and Keidan, says an oral contract between Edwards and Wigan would be binding.

But he says any dispute would be unlikely to go to court.

He said: "In a case such as this, the primary issue that needs to be resolved is whether or not an employment contract was formed between the Wigan Warriors and Mr Edwards.

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"There is no legal requirement under English law for an employee to have a signed contract with his or her employer. An oral contract is binding.

"Nevertheless, there must have been both certainty during the talks between the club and Mr Edwards in August 2018 as to the principal terms (salary, duration of the employment etc.) and an intention on the part of both parties that the verbally agreed terms would be legally binding.

"In the absence of a signed contract, these requirements are more difficult to prove.

"On the assumption that an oral contract does exist and, if Mr Edwards were to take up employment elsewhere, it might be possible for Wigan Warriors to bring a claim against him for breach of contract if it can show that it has suffered loss.

"It is, however, likely to be preferable for both parties to settle this matter without resorting to legal action.

"This would avoid the personal conflicts and significant legal costs that tend to arise in litigation of this kind, as well as the adverse publicity that often accompanies such public disagreements."