Accuracy and clarity are of critical importance when lawyers draft legislation and contracts. In no area is this more important than when legislation and contracts refer to the following:
- time periods within which – or dates by which – rights may be exercised or obligations must be performed; and
- limitations in relation to minimum, maximum or absolute numbers or amounts.
By way of example, if a call option agreement allows the holder of the option to exercise the right at any time before 30 June, it is of critical importance to determine whether 30 June is the last day on which the right may be exercised, or whether the last day is 29 June.
A former partner of Linklaters Shanghai, Andrew Godwin teaches law at Melbourne Law School in Australia, where he is an associate director of its Asian Law Centre. Andrew’s new book is a compilation of China Business Law Journal’s popular Lexicon series, entitled China Lexicon: Defining and translating legal terms. The book is published by Vantage Asia and available at www.vantageasia