Month: May 2017

Stop Cobbling your Consultant Appointment

Does this sound like you? When we set up our consultancy practice, like many professionals we cobbled (cut + paste) together an appointment from documents we’d been provided by our professional body and or obtained from other consultants. We took an ‘that seems to look right’ or ‘it covers most

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The Dotted Line: Size doesn’t matter

At the weekend, I spotted a goldcrest. It is the smallest bird I have ever seen (and I later found out that it is the UK’s smallest). It is the perfect metaphor for those of you who doubt that a contract can be really small – you just need to

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Apply Common Sense

When a court or tribunal interprets your carefully crafted contract, it doesn’t ask your opinion. It reviews the written terms to analyse ‘what a reasonable person having all the [parties’ then] background knowledge… would have understood… the language in the contract to mean‘. As they are not mystics, the courts

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Edit ruthlessly

My 10 tips to improve your legal writing recommend you spend time ruthlessly crossing through, deleting or rewording your text. Whenever you can shorten a sentence, do. And one always can. The best sentence? The shortest. Gustave Flaubert You need to edit your text to create a document which suits

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The Dotted Line: Don’t win this award

One of my favourite workshop activities is to ask delegates to improve award-winning contracts. Naturally, I use winners of awards for poor language (eg the Golden Bull Awards). It’s hard to believe both the quality of the drafting and the excuses given, like this apology from Scottish Power “Legal definitions often

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Why construction is like doing the hokey-cokey

When we do the hokey-cokey we put ‘our whole self in, whole self out, in, out, in, out and shake it all about.’ That phrase reminds me of the contract terms describing performance standards for a construction project. The terms are a delightfully old-fashioned mix of reasonable skill and care

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Contracts Win Prizes for Clarity

Contracts win prizes, although not in this case… It is common ground that the Deed of Variation in this case would win no drafting prizes for precision or clarity. It included errors … which are acknowledged by both sides, and it also struggled to convey the essential agreement reached between

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