• Matthew Crist

BAD CONTRACT DRAFTING

Whole forests have been cut down in papering big commercial litigation over the meaning of mundane terms, poor grammar, and a failure of the meeting of the minds in the execution of contracts. Some of the biggest problems come in the form of well-intentioned drafters who aspire to clear writing, however, they use nonsense such as "and/or."


The conjunction "and/or" is used quite a bit in professional writing. I have long opposed its use and regularly delete it when working with other lawyers to draft legal papers.


In both logic and grammar, the conjunction "and/or" simply means "or." The problem, however, is litigation drags on when two people can look at the same issue and derive polar opposite views.


With that slash in the middle, the "and/or" conjunction is just begging for the contract to be litigated.


Well-drafted contracts should start with a vision towards avoiding disputes and litigation as much as possible. Built in ambiguity is begging for wasteful litigation.

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