LK Shields Solicitors

Interpreting commercial contracts and drafting tips

By Jennifer McGuire

A client recently said that he doesn’t care if the economy gets better or worse; it’s the uncertainty that makes it hard to take decisive action. This is a fact of business, and as solicitors acting for our clients, it is our job to assist clients to avoid uncertainty. Ambiguity in contracts, unless for a deliberate purpose, is poor drafting.

A court, when asked to interpret a commercial contract, will follow certain principles of interpretation, for example: by putting itself in the position of a reasonable person in possession of the background information reasonably available to the parties, the court will try to ascertain the objective intention of the parties when entering into the contract; and where ambiguity arises in the wording, the court will choose the interpretation that makes the most commercial sense.

It is the natural meaning of the words that applies in the first instance. Commercial sense is secondary and reserved for ambiguities. Therefore, straightforward and simple language will best serve the client. Clarity is certainty…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the LK Shields Solicitor briefing.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from LK Shields Solicitors

  • A quick guide to trademarks

    Trademarks give your business a unique, protectable brand which is readily identifiable by consumers. 

  • Private equity funds risk competition fines

    This article examines a recent trend in EU competition law whereby it has become increasingly common for parent entities to be fined for the violations that were perpetrated by their subsidiaries.

View more briefings from LK Shields Solicitors


40 Upper Mount Street
Dublin 2