Category: Language

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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Extremely difficult to apply

On the front flap of A New Approach to the Standard Form of Building Contract (which refers to the 1963 RIBA form), the publishers say: By the nature of its legal terminology and complex provisions, [the form] is extremely difficult to apply in everyday practice without constant advice The book

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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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‘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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Contractions in contracts

I was chatting to Jeremy who havd reviewed one of my template contracts. He was fine with its content but said he would be even less formal in his contract/proposal; in particular he would use contractions. So where I had written I will he would use I’ll. I didn’t disagree

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Trust and the wrong tone

Dominic Cummings, a UK Government advisor, was outed for an ill-conceived trip to Barnard Castle during the Spring 2020 lockdown (a place which ought to be famous for its mechanical silver swan rather than policital shenanigans). In his statement, he made a series of increasingly bizarre claims about testing his

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