Home > Legal Articles > How long should a contract be? The long and the short of it.

How long should a contract be? The long and the short of it.

Posted on Friday, 10th May 2013 by

Photo Credit: joebeone via Compfight cc

So which is best do you think? A 3 page contract or a 300 page one?  We have come across both, but opinion is often divided over which is best (clients tend to prefer the 3 page option at first but thank us for the extra bits later).

But, how long does a contract really need to be?

As an absolute minimum a contract needs to include (clearly and with no room for misunderstanding):

  • Basic contractual terms – setting out the parties and what they are agreeing
    • Offer (the basic terms)
    • Acceptance (evidenced by signing)
    • Consideration (what is being given, to whom, when)
  • How any risks are to be borne
  • Limitations of Liability and ensuring that any limitations would be valid in law
  • Confidentiality clauses (if appropriate)

The danger of overly brief contracts is that there may well be legislation that will fill in the gaps for you, and they may bear no resemblance to the position you were contemplating at the outset.  On the flip side there is little point having a 500 page document that you struggle to understand how to apply in practice.

So the long and the short of it is that a contract that you and your solicitor eventually agree on will be a little bit longer than you would like, but a little bit shorter than he would!

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The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

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