Category: Write

Is plain language enough?

There is a growing global movement towards plain language contracts, especially for individuals or consumers. What does plain language mean and is it enough? What is plain language? According to the Plain Language Federation (and this is the definition in the proposed new ISO on the topic): A communication is

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Contracts as communication tools

We have never met anyone without a legal background who enjoys working with contracts So starts a 2013 paper by Stefania Passera and Helena Haapio which rues the fact that contracts have become stuff for lawyers rather than as a framework for successful deals and the relationships between a supply

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Skill and care: no guarantee

The issue of quality is a thorny one on construction projects and covers everything from the construction process, to use and performance. The two main standards are reasonable skill and care, or fitness for purpose. Unless a contract clearly specifies a different standard, then you may have to rely on

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Be user-friendly

Contracts are not often described as user-friendly… more often they are noted as being the opposite. That may be harsh if it comes from a user, but it is feedback you need to act on if it comes from a judge. Not user-friendly In Blu-Sky v Be Caring the English

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Easy to find: structuring your contract

A contract is not just a set of legal terms. Contracts include: processes such as change management deliverables and KPIs works information programming payment schedules policies and codes of conduct A completed contract is a mix of commercial, operational, legal and technical items. The difficulty for most users is finding

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Liability linked to commitments

At a recent event, one of the delegates stated “liability has to be proportional to the commitments being made.” This is otherwise described as risk v reward. What we know – from the World Commerce and Contracting Most Negotiated Terms Report – is that limits on liability are the most

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‘Cut and shut’ contracts

If you’re a driver, then you may be familiar with the phrase ‘cut & shut’ which refers to two write-off vehicles being welded together to make a ‘new and improved’ model. This happens with contracts. The clauses or halves might not have been write-offs but the resulting document is surely

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Mind your language… to avoid disputes

What are the best ways to avoid disputes on construction projects? You’d fully expect me to recommend a decent contract, but don’t just take my word for it. This post reviews the 2021 Arcadis Global Disputes Report to extract the nuggets you need to avoid disputes on your projects. Tips

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Contracts need clarity

What happens when your contract lacks clarity? How will the English courts interpret it? In Mott MacDonald v Trant Engineering, the judge reminded contract writers and users of these principles by which they work out what your contract words actually mean: if the words are not ambiguous, then the courts

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Is it obvious? It is necessary?

Any contract – whatever its subject, however long it is, whether paper-based, digital or verbal – can have terms added to by either legislation, custom or by case law. These additions are called implied terms. This post summarises a recent Court of Appeal decision which clarified when/how the courts can

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