“The Date Notified”

Here’s an odd little usage: the date notified. I first saw it in section 1.1.3.2 of the FIDIC contract I discussed in this post (emphasis added):

“Commencement Date” means the date notified under Sub-Clause 8.1.

Here are some other examples from that den of iniquity, the SEC’s EDGAR system:

Each Lender shall make available to the applicable Issuing Bank an amount equal to its respective participation, in Dollars and in same day funds, at the office of such Issuing Bank specified in such notice, not later than 12:00 p.m. on the first Business Day … after the date notified by such Issuing Bank.

“First Hand Date” means the date notified in writing by CIE to 888 upon which the first hand of poker is played for real money on the Platform.

If the Parties agree in writing to change the deadline for satisfaction of the Conditions Precedent to the revised date notified by Seller or another later date, such revised date shall be deemed the CP Deadline for all purposes of this Agreement.

Here’s my take on this. One uses the date notified as part of a passive-voice construction. To put the date notified in writing by CIE to 888 (using the second of the examples immediately above) in the active voice, you’d say *the date that CIE notified in writing to 888. That’s obviously ungrammatical: you notify someone, you don’t notify a date. (Hence the asterisk—that’s how The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language flags ungrammatical examples.) That problem is masked somewhat when you use the passive voice, as the passive voice switches the normal order of things.

I’d say instead, the date that CIE specifies by notice to 888. (I got rid of the reference to a written notice, as the notices provision should say that notices have to be in writing. Mind you, that definition has other problems, so I’d make other changes too.)  And I’d make an analogous change in each of the other examples.

You could say instead the date that CIE notifies 888 of, but in this context, at least, it’s a bit awkward, with the preposition lurking at the end.

The moral of this story is never use the date notified.

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.