Contract Interpretation and the Importance of Unambiguous Terms: Part 2 of 3

In part one of this series, we began our discussion of contract interpretation. This installment delves a bit deeper into several of the principles of contract construction that judges and arbitrators rely on to discern the meaning of ambiguous contract terms.

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How To Simplify Contracts

Contracts may formalize important agreements and impose significant responsibilities, but that does not mean that they have to be lengthy documents written in a complicated language. In fact, contract drafting should take the opposite approach and focus on keeping things as simple as possible. Contract-related disputes that often arise end up in court because of differing interpretations and understandings. Although language, in general, s subject to interpretation (including contract terms), there are ways to avoid unnecessary ambiguities. Here are a few ways to keep contracts simple:

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Rethinking Traditional Contracts

There are many ways to define and describe contracts. In addition to the usual words associated with contracts, like verbose, confusing, and binding, the thought of them also conjures up all sorts of imagery. For many people, the idea of contracts likely evokes images of stacks of paperwork, arguing lawyers, wood-paneled courtrooms, and black-robed judges, among numerous other possibilities.

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