Closing a Contract
Regular readers of this blog are well aware of our penchant for abolishing archaic language and promoting simple, modern turns of phrase, i.e. plain English (Legal English Dictionary). In the past we have discouraged the use of whereas at the beginning of a contract and now we turn our attention to the closing section of a contract.
For hundreds of years contracts have ended like this:
‘‘IN WITNESS WHEREOF ………….. _____________ have hereunto set _________ hand and seal this day of _______ in the year of our Lord two thousand and ______________ .’’
This formulation is not only objectionable for religious reasons (not all contract signatories practice Christianity), but it is also confusing. Most contracts do not need to be, and are not, witnessed, so it is completely misleading to imply that the signatures have been witnessed.
Try a straightforward closing like this:
THE PARTIES, INTENDING TO BE LEGALLY BOUND, have executed this agreement on the date first set forth above.”
followed by appropriate spaces for the signatures of the parties.