Much has been written about the words that contract writers should adopt to portray an obligation. Is it shall, must or will? Here’s a summary of the expert views:

Given that there is no consistent approach, use must be defined by what each contract writer believes will provide clarity for the contract users.

My 500-word contracts are written for people in the UK construction industry. They are not lawyers with an understanding of the fine distinctions between different types of language in a contract (as Ken Adams distinguishes between the uses of these words). They are practical and pragmatic proponents of action over words.

What should you do?

You could check each clause for sense and then determine the best verb for the job or you could stick with your personal preference, which in my case [read more] is supported by research as being the readers’ personal preference [read more].


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