Construction law knowhow by David Lewis

Pursuant to the provisions

30/05/2010 18:59

I feel a rant coming on. This time it’s a reprise of my long-standing obsession about the prolixity of legal drafting. The days when lawyers were paid by the folio are long past. (A folio, by the way, was 72 words; don’t ask me why.)  So why double the length of every clause for the sake of it?

For those legal draftsmen who need persuasion, I’m not proposing to give examples – just a practical solution which you can apply using your word-processor’s “find and replace” function.

Replace with
[Party A] hereby agrees and declares that [nothing]
in accordance with the provisions of under
in the event that if
pursuant to under
pursuant to the provisions of under
shall be entitled to may
the provisions of [nothing]
under the provisions of under

Applying these rules academically (much as I’d like to, I don’t make style amendments to documents I’m being paid to examine) to a 42-page document I reviewed did not reduce the number of pages, and reduced the number of words by only 135, less than one per cent.  But it did make the offending clauses much easier to read and understand.

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