Construction in an Agreement


Construction in an Agreement: How Specific Wording Affects Your Legal Rights

When it comes to legal agreements, every word counts. The specific language used in a contract can have a profound impact on your legal rights and obligations. One area where this is particularly important is when it comes to the construction of an agreement.

Construction, in this context, refers to the interpretation of a contract. When parties to a contract have a dispute over its meaning, the court will use certain rules of construction to determine what the parties actually intended. These rules are designed to give effect to the words used in the contract, and to avoid any unintended consequences.

One important rule of construction is known as the “plain meaning” rule. This rule holds that the words of a contract should be given their ordinary and natural meaning, as understood by the parties at the time the contract was made. This means that if a word or phrase in a contract has a commonly accepted meaning, that meaning will be used to interpret the contract.

For example, let`s say that you enter into a contract to purchase a used car from a dealer. The contract includes a warranty that covers “all defects in materials and workmanship.” If you later discover that the car has a defect that was caused by a faulty part, you would likely be able to hold the dealer responsible under the terms of the warranty. This is because the phrase “defects in materials and workmanship” has a commonly accepted meaning in the context of car sales.

However, if the contract had used a more general phrase, such as “all defects,” it might be more difficult to hold the dealer responsible for the faulty part. This is because the phrase “all defects” could be interpreted more broadly, to include defects that were not caused by the dealer`s workmanship.

Another important rule of construction is known as the “contra proferentem” rule. This rule applies when there is ambiguity in a contract, and holds that any ambiguity should be resolved against the party who drafted the contract. This means that if you are presented with a contract that contains ambiguous language, you should be careful to ensure that it is clear and specific about your rights and obligations.

It is also important to note that specific language can be used to exclude certain rights or obligations. For example, a contract might include a provision that limits the amount of damages that can be recovered in the event of a breach. This provision might be worded in such a way as to exclude certain types of damages, such as consequential damages. If you are entering into a contract, it is important to carefully review any limitations or exclusions to ensure that they are acceptable to you.

In conclusion, construction in an agreement is a critical aspect of legal drafting. The specific language used in a contract can have a major impact on your legal rights and obligations, and it is important to ensure that it is clear and specific. By understanding the rules of construction and paying close attention to the wording of your contracts, you can help to protect your interests and avoid any unintended consequences.