Tips for Drafting Text and Additional Clauses
- Order your additional clauses in a logical sequence. Generally, it is a good idea to keep sentences short but not cryptic. The intent of your text must be clear. If your clause is long, consider dividing the clause into sections.
- Review your text. Make sure your meaning is clear. Have someone else review what you wrote to ensure the meaning is apparent. It is not unusual to re-write a sentence or clause several times to ensure that it is simple and clear. The last thing you want is for a judge or arbitrator to discard an important clause because the meaning is unclear or ambiguous.
- Draft your clause in Plain English. Plain English means language that is simple and conveys ideas with the greatest possible clarity.
|Legalistic Style||Plain English|
|at the present time||now|
|due to the fact that||because; since|
|during such time as||while|
|for the duration of||during|
|inasmuch as||because; since|
|in the event that||if|
|notwithstanding the fact that||although; even if|
|pursuant to||under; in accordance with|
|with reference to||about|
- Omit needless words. Do not use jargon/legalese such as "hereto" and "the said item".
- Avoid making redundant clauses and ensure clauses do not contradict. Read your document carefully to ensure that your additional clause is not repeating or contradicting what has already been stated in the document.
- Use numerals, not words, to denote amounts.
- Refer to people and companies by name. If names have been defined by a shorthand identifier within the document, then use that name instead. This is especially true of the parties to the agreement. These are usually identified at the beginning of your contract. You should use these predefined terms throughout the rest of the document. Example: the Landlord, the Tenant, the Customer, the Service Provider, etc.
- Do not use multiple names or identifiers to refer to the same person or thing. It will appear to the reader that you are introducing new or different objects.
- Do not use terms such as: they, us, we, our, you, me, etc. These terms are ambiguous and confusing.
- Do not abbreviate words.
- Emphasise the positive and avoid using multiple negatives in sentences (for example, change "Notice will not be effective unless it is delivered in person." to "Notice will only be effective if it is delivered in person."
- Do not use all capitals.
- Spell-check your clause.