Month: November 2017

The passive voice is to be avoided

In great literature, the passive voice may be used to good effect to convey immutable fate, actions of the invisible, or Kafkaesque bureaucracy.  Not so in business law.  If you won’t be submitting your contract for the Pulitzer Prize, then don’t use the passive voice when you’re writing it.  Compare “Rent payments that are not received by the 5th day of the month will incur a 5% late fee” with “If Landlord does not receive Tenant’s rent in full by the 5th day of the month, then Tenant will pay Landlord a late fee of 5% of the full amount of that month’s rent.”
Strive to be clear.  If you don’t understand your contract when you’re signing it, the jury won’t understand it when you have to sue on it.