Are contracts necessary?
International exchange at Kyushu University is increasing year by year; in particular, collaboration with foreign governments, companies, universities, etc. (hereinafter “foreign institutions”) is very active. It is important to conclude a “contract” in advance when starting any kind of collaborative activities with such foreign institutions, not only for research but also for education.
A contract is a clear statement of “mutually agreed-upon rules,” and it must be understood that a contract plays a role not only in the negative aspects of preventing and solving problems, but also as a guideline and blueprint for collaborative activities. Any action that ignores the contract will be a breach of contract. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct sufficient scrutiny and negotiation so we can organize in advance what the university or researchers will not or cannot do, and ensure that the contract is appropriate for the purpose of the project in question and for the University.
Are foreign contracts considered important?
In the case of domestic collaboration, there is no language barrier, and when problems occur, they may be resolved amicably based on the relationship of trust that has been built up so far. However, this is not always the case when working with foreign institutions. Since there are many differences in language, customs, religions, and legal systems, it is readily imagined that misunderstandings and differences of opinion can easily arise when working with foreign institutions.
In principle, contracts with foreign institutions should be concluded in English, which is the common language of both parties. It is essential to fully understand the contents of the contract, and to go through careful investigation and negotiation to determine whether the University or researchers can really implement the contract and whether it meets the purposes of the project. Therefore, it often takes more time to reach an agreement compared to domestic contracts.
It is no excuse to have concluded a contract with insufficient understanding because the contract is in a foreign language. Because the contract is in a foreign language, it is important to confirm the contents of the contract with more attention than in Japanese.
Can I proceed with the contract without enough data on the other party?
Even if you know the researchers you are collaborating with, do you know what kind of institution they belong to? If you sign a contract with a foreign institution without knowing what kind of institution it is, you may end up in trouble because the results of your research were misused in an unintended direction, or you may find out later that it is not an appropriate institution and the reputation of the University or the researcher may be damaged.
It is very important to objectively confirm before signing a contract what kind of institution the foreign counter-party is and whether it is an appropriate partner for a Japanese university to collaborate with.
Please use the QILO when entering into contracts.
The items required to be confirmed in order to conclude a contract can be complicated as they vary widely depending on the type of contract, so careful confirmation and a professional perspective are essential. If you agree to and sign a contract with a foreign institution without understanding its contents, you may find yourself in trouble that is completely unpredictable in Japan. The burden and hassle in the event of trouble is not small.
If you have a contract or agreement with a foreign institution for collaborative activities, please consult with the QILO before signing it. We will check whether the contents of the contract are appropriate for the purpose of the contract from a legal perspective.
Also, the QILO conducts credit checks on the counter-parties (contract partners) of collaborative activities and provides objective materials to determine whether or not they are appropriate for the University.
Besides, the QILO also provides a variety of legal consultations. If desired,
you can also get appropriate advice from our legal counsel. Please feel free to contact us.
E-mail: legal*qilo.kyushu-u.ac.jp (Change * into @)