Defined Terms

Don’t Use an Initialism for a Contract’s References to Itself!

Here’s something I tweeted this week: Tonight's question: What acronym have you seen used in a contract as the defined term for that contract? Off the top of my head, I recall having seen NDA, MSA, and CRADA. (I'm not endorsing this practice!) — Ken Adams (@AdamsDrafting) September 22, 2020 Here are the examples people submitted in response, plus others … Read More

Deranged Definition-Section Enumeration

It’s worse than pointless to enumerate the elements in a definition section: it clutters up the works. The elements are in alphabetical order. That by itself is enough of an organizational framework. Nevertheless, some people enumerate the elements in a definition section. The normal way would be to have the first element be, say, section 14.1 of article 14. But … Read More

More Weirdness in Creating Defined Terms

I’ve spent some quality time lately with definitions of the defined term Event of Default. And I’ve seen some strange things. Here are three examples: enjoy! Here it seems as if the definition contains the defined term: The example below is basically the same, except the defined-term parenthetical is shifted earlier in the sentence, without making any more sense: An … Read More

When the Definition Is the Same As the Defined Term

Today I tweeted this image: The highlighted portion is of interest because the definition (The standstill period) is the same as the defined term (the “Standstill Period”). That doesn’t make sense: the whole point of defined terms is that they allow you to express a longer concept more concisely and consistently than you would otherwise. If the defined term is … Read More

Using “Is” as a Definitional Verb? Please Gawd No Stop

  Here are two autonomous definitions: “Salvage” is cargo which has been damaged, alleged to be damaged, refused or undeliverable that has been sold, disposed of or turned over to a competent salvage agent for selling after proper On–Hand notice has been given. “Confidential Information” is any information that … Both use is as the definitional verb. That’s unorthodox. That’s … Read More

Don’t Use “Collectively” with a Singular Noun

Behold the following introductory clause. See the emphasized text? It defines a term individually and collectively—a practice I mocked in the preceding post—but it uses one defined term for the individually part and a different singular defined term for the collectively part. THIS FIRST AMENDMENT TO LOAN AGREEMENT AND OTHER LOAN DOCUMENTS, dated as of March 19, 2019 (this “Amendment”), … Read More

Some Defined-Term Insanity, Featuring “Collectively”

If you ever find me on the floor in the fetus position, gibbering softly, it will be because nonsense of the following sort has finally got to me. I’ve long mocked using individually a “Party” and collectively the “Parties” when creating the unnecessary defined term Party. I had suspected that there was potential for all sorts of other mischief featuring … Read More

Policing Your Defined Terms

A tipster told me about this article in the Economist. It concerns arbitration of a dispute over credit-default-swaps documentation. I’m not clear on the details, but here’s the gist of it: A contract used the defined term “Obligations” to mean an entity’s bonds. But in one crucial provision, the contract used the word “obligations,” without the initial capital. The arbitration … Read More

“Agreement” Weirdness

You might recall this post from last October, when I managed to come up with a contract extract showing how using the dreaded defined term this Agreement might help avoid confusion, assuming you’re really, really incompetent. Well, thanks to an informant buried in the contracts deep state, I now bring you something comparable, the image at the top of this … Read More

Don’t Use “Party A” and “Party B” As Party-Name Defined Terms

Behold the following introductory clause: AMENDMENT, dated as of October 10, 2018, to the ISDA Master Agreement , dated as of July 12, 2017 (as amended, supplemented or otherwise modified from time to time, the “Agreement”), between JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A. (“Party A”) and CAMBRIDGE MASTER FUND L.P. (“Party B”). Note the defined terms Party A and Party B. They’re a … Read More