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Is the project charter a legally binding document?

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Does anyone know if the project charter is a legally binding document? We're currently having a conflict with one of our clients as he's refusing to acknowledge some of the omissions (of features) in the project that were already excluded in the project charter.

Any help would be appreciated - thanks!
asked 7 years ago by anonymous

2 Answers

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The answer is "maybe", especially for small projects.  Normally the project charter is just a high level estimate of budget, time, and resources with a desired outcome.  When this is the format, the various legal documents and contracts are within the scope of the project and the project charter itself is not legally binding.  

For many smaller projects (often those that will have a single contract)however, rather than write a separate project charter, the contract and statement of work becomes the project charter.  In these cases, if there is a proper contract, the project charter is legally binding.

There is another circumstance.  I have seen complex project charters that run for hundreds of pages.  The various subsequent contracts write in terms regarding the project charter, in which case the charter may be legally binding, depending upon the agreement in the contract.

To avoid misinterpretation, all contracts (and project charters if they are incorporated by reference into contracts) should at least be reviewed by a legal professional.
answered 7 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)
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Unfortunately, a project charter is not a legally binding document. Any legally binding document must be drafted by a lawyer, which is not the case with the project charter (even though it is signed by the involved parties).

Nevertheless, it is important to note that some courts might take that document into consideration - but in most cases the project charter is not a legally enforced document.
answered 7 years ago by MaplePM (46,940 points)

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