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Editing FAQs

This FAQ answers some of the most common questions we are asked about the editing of our templates.

Do all templates need to be edited?

Yes. None of the templates are ready for use without editing. As a general rule, the longer a template is, the more editing work will be required.

What are all the square brackets and italics for?

Square brackets indicate that the text inside the brackets is optional OR that you should consider whether the text inside the brackets should be edited.

All the clause numbers in the body of the templates are in square brackets, because they may need to be changed if the clause numbering is changed (e.g. because of the deletion of an early clause).

Italic text indicates that specific information should be inserted into the document.

The finished document should not include any of the original square brackets or italic text (or any of the footnotes, for that matter).

Should I amend the definitions provisions?

Where appropriate, yes.

It is often helpful to word-search the document to check if (and how) particular definitions are used.

Am I free to delete or amend all of the provisions of the templates?

Yes. However, some of the provisions have been include to deal with particular legal issues which may not be apparent on the face of the document.

For example, provisions excluding liability are regulated by statute and, if a contractual provision purports to exclude certain kinds of liability, the provision may be unenforceable.

What final checks should I perform on the document before signature or use?

We recommend making the following final checks before using a document:

Numbering: It is always worth checking that clause numbers are in proper series. E.g. you do not want to be in a position where there are two different clauses called "Clause 3.4(a)", because any cross reference to that clause will then be ambiguous.

Cross-references: Cross-references can become orphaned as you adapt and amend a template. Check that the all references to Clauses, Sections, Paragraphs, Schedules, Annexes, etc. are correct. The easiest way to do this is to word-search the document, checking each kind of reference in turn.

Definitions: Check that all defined terms are used at least once, and that all terms that are used as defined terms are in fact defined.

Formatting and presentation: Consistently formatted documents look more professional. So before you finalise a document, check that all the paragraphs are consistently justified and indented, that the right fonts are used throughout, and that headings are consistently presented and logically organised. Also, use a spelling-checker.

Proof reading: Have one final, careful, read of the entire document before use. This will be more effective if done with a clear head.

Can the templates be adapted for use outside England and Wales?

All our templates have been drafted with the requirements of the law of England in mind. Whilst they can be adapted for use in relation to the legal systems of other jurisdictions, this should only be done by a person with expertise in the relevant law.