Can you make a contract by word of mouth and a handshake? The answer is that there is nothing stopping you from doing this in English law. The problem is that you will have to have some evidence as to what the terms of your agreement are. In this case, Mr MacInnes and Mr Gross had dinner at which it is alleged that it was agreed that Mr MacInnes would be chairman of RunningBall (a company specialising in providing "real time" sports data) and that he would receive 15% of the sale price if the business was sold. The business was sold for €142 million, but Mr Gross refused to pay the commission, saying that there was never any agreement on commission. There is a court case on establishing what exactly was agreed. Much will depend on the verbal evidence of the parties and what credibility that evidence will have.
Hans Thomas Gross, 39, is being sued by British investment banker Bruce MacInnes, who says he was promised a large share of the £100 million-plus profits from the sale of Mr Gross’s RunningBall sports data business in 2012. He insists he struck a gentleman’s agreement with Mr Gross over dinner at Knightsbridge restaurant Zuma, giving up his job to help close the deal.