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Obligations of the contractor

Geertje Strik
Geertje Strik
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The contractor has various obligations. A distinction can be made between the authority to issue instructions, the obligation to warn, the obligation to provide information, and the obligation to notify. All four of them will be discussed below.

The authority to issue instructions

The starting point is that the assignment is performed in accordance with the wishes of the client. If a client issues instructions in the context of the assignment, the contractor will be obliged to follow them. The contractor does not have to follow instructions that are not appropriate for the assignment. A taxi driver cannot be obliged to polish nails, but can be obliged to drive to the home of the client. The scope of the authority to issue instructions depends on the assignment. For example, a distinction can be made between the authority to issue instructions to a ‘servant’ or a ‘professional’.

Obligation to warn

The contractor has an obligation to warn. This is obvious since generally speaking, a contractor has more knowledge and skills required for the assignment than the client. This means that the contractor has to warn the client if the instruction is not wise. For example, a client who instructs his lawyer to lodge an appeal if, according to the lawyer, this is absolutely pointless. In the first place, the contractor will have to ask for a clarification of the instruction. In some cases, the contractor is even obliged to refuse unwise instructions. If nevertheless the client continues to insist, the contractor may even terminate the assignment in some cases. The obligation to warn may also be an obligation to provide the client with unsolicited advice.

Obligation to provide information

The contractor has to inform the client about the performance of the assignment. The contractor is obliged to provide the client with information, both when asked and on his own initiative. For example, the duty of a lawyer to draw the client’s attention to the possibility of publicly funded legal assistance. The professional, for example the doctor, will usually have to provide more information that the contractor who performs assignments for achieving a specific purpose, such as for example the hairdresser.

Obligation to notify

The contractor has to inform the client of the completion of the assignment immediately. This is because in some cases, it is not clear for a client when an assignment has been completed. This is the case if the client is unaware of the actual state of affairs. For example, a client cannot know that the art dealer already has the sought-after work of art in his possession and therefore does not have to look for it anymore. The reason for this obligation is to prevent a contractor from claiming wages while the assignment has already been completed.


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