Plain English contract editing

So many of the contracts and forms used in insurance and banking are poorly written, the victims of decades of accumulated legal-ese, which tends to pile up like plaque in your arteries. For those who don’t eat legal-ese for breakfast, it’s like a foreign language. People are wary of insurance and banking contracts, which are traditionally littered with clauses, sub clauses, caveats and confusing provisions. Importantly, this is not without good reason because banks and insurance companies don’t want to be any more exposed to risk than they plan to be. But, with skilful editing, these contracts can be relieved of their burden, and transformed into clear, honest, and simple documents that carry the same legal gravitas but not the fog.

To show you what’s possible, here’s a few before and after examples of contracts our Plain English Insurance contract writers and editors, and Plain English banking contract writers and editors have worked on.

Before

The insured person may cancel the policy by giving the Company written notice of cancellation. The serving of the notice is sufficient notice and the effective date of cancellation in the notice will be the end of the policy term.

After

To cancel your policy, simply write to the Company outlining when you want it cancelled.

 And another …

Before

Once your patent, trademark or design is registered here in Australia, you will be able to use that patent, trademark or design to the exclusion of all others in Australia.

After

Once your patent, trademark or design is registered in Australia no one else in Australia can use it.

And one more …

Before

If you need advice or representation on such other potential claims or legal matters now or during the course of the claim you should discuss this with your Lawyer. Your lawyer will then inform you whether our firm will offer to represent you in the other potential claim or legal matter. If our firm does offer to represent you, you will be provided with a separate agreement applying to that claim or legal matter.

After

If you need advice or representation on other potential claims or legal matters, now or during the course of the claim, and we agree to represent you, we’ll draw up a separate agreement to cover this.

Banks and insurance companies spend millions on building-up trust with their customers. The transparency and ‘honesty’ that Plain English Insurance contract writers and editors, and Plain English banking contract writers and editors bring to a contract, and for that matter general communications, are valuable, elusive brand assets for banks, law firms and insurance companies.