Have Your Contract Forms Changed With the Times?

Update stampI was reading a long and complicated contract that I was thinking of signing (details are NDA’d, so don’t ask), and I came upon this piece of contemporary drafting:

Whenever the context of this Agreement permits, the masculine gender shall include the feminine and neuter genders, and reference to singular or plural shall be interchangeable with the other.

My first thought was this showed that the times are indeed changing.

My second thought was that if I was a contract drafter (in some evil alternate universe; I’m much better at litigation!) I’d want to put this into my standard forms.

And my third thought was that if I was reviewing a contract for something important and it didn’t have a clause like this, I’d ask when the form was last updated.  Stale forms can be dangerous…

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2 Responses to Have Your Contract Forms Changed With the Times?

  1. C.E. Petit says:

    So where does an AI, or a business entity, fit in this?

    (Nontrivial question if the contract includes a type of business entity recognized in its organizing jurisdiction but not in the other party’s jurisdiction.)

    • I’d say AI’s don’t fit, and shouldn’t, absent explicit agreements by the parties.

      Firms, partnerships, LLCs other entities do belong in forms where there is a chance the signer might be one of those. For this particular contract I think it would contrary to the terms if not outright illegal for corporation to do what would be promised in the agreement so that wasn’t an issue.

      On the other hand, a partnership could, and there was quite a lot of language about how that would work in other parts of the agreement. We don’t call a partnership “he” or “she” so I think that’s not an issue for this clause. However, we might in referring to a partnership say “they/them” — a new way to create ambiguity that needs fixing?

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