“Self-Deleting”?

A participant at my recent Canberra seminar made me aware of “self-deleting” contract provisions. I gather that it’s a standard notion in government contracts.

Here’s an example:

CLAUSES MADE INAPPLICABLE BY THE TYPE OF ORDER OR CONTRACT ARE  SELF-DELETING.

And another:

THE FOLLOWING CLAUSES ARE INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE AND ARE SELF-DELETING IF NOT APPLICABLE:

“Self-deleting” would seem to be something dreamed up by a bureaucrat as an alternative to “do not apply” or “are excluded”. Is the concept expressed in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (or the Australian equivalent) and therefore unavoidable? Or is there scope for using an alternative to “self-deleting”?

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.