Category: Language

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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Consumer Contracts Require Transparent Terms

Clarity and legibility in contractual language is widely recognised as desirable in its own right but [the Consumer Rights Act] goes beyond promoting that objective as an end in itself … the transparency provisions in the Act have to be understood as demanding ‘transparency’ in the full sense. If your

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Delete Stilted Writing

It is time to banish stilted language from your (legal) writing. It serves no-one, especially not your client. If you need more persuading, read these words of wisdom from commentators, experts and judges: In legal writing, jargon consists mostly of stilted words and phrases — blemishes, not graces — such

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What Does It Mean?

Courts are regularly called upon to interpret contracts ie work out what they and their terms mean. You can avoid these sort of complex, circular or meaningless arguments by writing down clearly and simply what you have agreed. The court tends to apply a mix of the actual words (a

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Making Up For Poor Contract Process?

Getting a contract in place before you provide works, goods, or services is not something the UK construction industry is great at (roughly one-third of projects start without any contract). But I expect more of the companies that sell a simple off-the-shelf product. So when I bought my recent JCT

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Baffled by T&C?

Which? (a lobbying organisation) has started a campaign to end baffling terms and conditions. They want to make it simple to know what you are signing up for. Since October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act has required terms to be fair, transparent and prominent. Transparent and prominent respectively mean: expressed

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How Can We Improve T&C?

The UK government needed your help. They wanted to know your bugbears about T&C, as well as your ideas for improvement. Although legislation (the Consumer Rights Act 2015) requires T&C to be fair and transparent, the law only allows consumers to challenge those that aren’t. It does not provide direct

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Improve Your Contract Writing Skills

Everyone prefers plain language – your clients expect and want it from their advisers, their business partners, their regulatory authorities and also from their lawyers. But the skills to write plainly are uncommon, and the tools and techniques need to be learnt and practiced (and bad habits erased). Bad Habits

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Why Write Simpler Contracts?

A good speech is like a skirt – it should be short enough to be interesting and long enough to cover the essentials… Churchill The same is true of a good contract. Short enough to be read. Long enough to cover the essentials. In the construction industry, we have (2018)

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Why Improve Your Legal Writing?

“To be clear is to be efficient; to be obscure is to be inefficient. Your style . . . is to be judged not by literary conventions or grammatical niceties but by whether it carries out efficiently the job you are paid to do.” As the author of the 500

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