Category: TLC

The Art of Writing a Readable Contract

In ‘the Art of Readable Writing’ (1949) Rudolph Flesch provides advice that applies to writers of legal documents as well as blog posts, books, and other media. Here are some of his tips, with relevant legal examples, to help you write contracts that others can read, understand and use. Benefits

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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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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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Watertight Contracts

What is a watertight contract? In my view it is like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – we’d all like it to exist, but it doesn’t. Recent examples like Pimlico plumbers, Uber and Oakhurst diary have shown how so-called watertight contracts have been leaking at

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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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Review: Spotting Conditions Precedent

Conditions precedent [conditions that don’t build trust] are requirements that must be met before either (1) the contract as a whole comes into existence, or (2) a specific right under that contract will apply. Your contract won’t always use the phrase ‘condition precedent’, which makes them harder to spot… Here’s

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