We Submitted Comments on the New Standard Contractual Clauses

The European Commission recently published for comment a new draft of the “Standard Contractual Clauses.” Yesterday Martin Clausen, Alex Hamilton, and I jointly filed comments, primarily our version of a portion of the SCCs, just to give the EU a sense of how the SCCs could be made clearer. (The comment period ends today.) Our submission is here, or you can get my copy here.

I wouldn’t dream of explaining in this post the function of the SCCs—I’m no data-privacy guy. But I am a contract-language guy. Given that the new version of the SCCs will feature in zillions of contracts, it would have been negligent of me not to take advantage of the opportunity to comment. I learned about the comment period when Alex tweeted about it. Alex and I have long been in cahoots, so we decided to submit our take on a portion of the SCCs. And we roped in Martin, another longtime collaborator.

I took a crack at it, Alex and Martin had their say, and a couple of people who know about privacy law tried to stop us from embarrassing ourselves too much. I have no idea whether anyone will find it useful, but I’m happy to have done it. Even if you have zero interest in the international flow of personal information, you might find our submission of interest: it will show you how if you’re systematic about saying more clearly what’s in a contract, you can end up adjusting pretty much everything in a more improvised draft. But it will also show you why few people have the stomach for this kind of work: it’s painstaking, and it calls on specialized knowledge.

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.