Contract Design - Simplification and Visualization

Network Leads

Contract Drafting Simplification and Visualization

The purpose of this Network is to provide its members with insights into new trends and innovations related to the way that contracts are constructed and drafted and particularly in the area of simplification and visualization of contractual documentation.  

The objectives will be met by sharing ideas, discussing challenges, exploring new directions and, where appropriate, initiating research or inviting experts to present on key topics related to these topics.

Meetings will be virtual (by phone or webinar) unless in specific cases there is an agreed wish to have physical meetings or workshops to develop specific initiatives.


To inspire a growing Network involved in the construction and drafting of contracts to adopt new techniques and promote the creation of clear and easy to use contracts.



Network Updates

Plain language and AI as the new frontier in contracts - IACCM Americas Conference 2019


IACCM Middle East Mini-Conference in Kuwait - 2019

An exceptional day in Kuwait - with Sally Guyer, CEO, along with speakers from Kuwait Oil, Fluor, Pinsent Masons, Capgemini and others who discussed hot topics around how to Create Value Through Change.


Visual contracts to support collaborative contracting

During the IACCM Australasia Conference in Sydney Australia back in 2016, I was introduced to a new mindset in commercial contracts, namely, 'collaborative contracting'. And ever since then, I have been an advocate for moving away from using overly complicated and technical contract documents that are full of confusing 'legalese' that could only be interpreted and understood by another lawyer. During the Conference, we were introduced to a new innovative 'comic contract' developed by attorney Robert de Rooy in South Africa. His new comic employment contract was produced in 2016 and was implemented for use with fruit pickers on farms in the Western Cape province. The resulting improvement to employer/employee relationships and to employee productivity was astounding. Although, at first consideration this approach is a a hard pill to swallow for the legally trained mind, there are immediately obvious benefits to the pictorial approach. Workers who may have learning difficulties or poor English skills, those people who learn better through visual communication, as well as young workers, could benefit from this novel approach. And other workplace documents that are distributed to an entire workforce, such as workplace policies, if written in such a visual format, could keep levels of engagement higher by capturing the interest of the reader long enough so they might actually read them in their entirety. The benefits of using simpler, more direct drafting are obviously beneficial. The use of quasi-Latin terms or words like 'wherefore', 'henceforth' and 'herewith' can be avoided, unless you are directly dealing with a judge or want to deliberately intimidate or scare the other party. Don't get me wrong, there are certain complex contracts which require a certain amount of 'legalese' and should be drafted by a competent lawyer. But contracts like employment contracts and simple service contracts should not be intimidating and should be in a format which both parties can easily understand without conferring with a lawyer. In August 2018, global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, Aurecon started using visual employment contracts, eliminating more than 4 000 words from their standard employment contract template to create a succinct and meaningful visual contract that uses illustrations to complement the text. The contracts were developed in partnership with Law Professor Camilla Andersen from the University of Western Australia. https://www.aurecongroup.com/about/latest-news/2018/august/aurecon-rsa-visual-employment-contract A contract is formed when parties agree on terms they intend to be legally binding. Agreement is the basis of any contract. Parties must have the capacity to contract, which means that they must have a clear understanding of the contents of the contract. The object of the contract must be legal and possible, it must be in writing, signed by the parties and must be observed. Lastly, for the contract to be binding, a court must be able to interpret it. Comic contracts can meet all these requirements. And as proponent of collaborative contracting, I feel this new form of contracting could result in a focus on building relationships between the parties. The examples of Robert de Rooy in South Africa, and of Aurecon in Australia, have motivated me to start working on a new visual construction contract which will combine comics, avatars and text balloons with simplified contract clause narrative. Anyone working in the international construction sector would certainly agree that there is a need to move away from unbalanced, hard to understand contracts which foster adversarial relationships between the parties. If anyone would like to contribute towards my endeavors, you are most welcome to send me individual commic scenes or avatars with the associated contract clause heading captioned underneath. Your name will be included in the forward of the contract proforma as a contributor. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/visual-contracts-support-collaborative-contracting-jeff-b/


IACCM Contract Design Pattern Library has launched

Dear contract design innovators, in case you missed it, I just wanted to share the link to the IACCM Contract Design Pattern Library with you: https://contract-design.iaccm.com/ The Library is a new IACCM resource to inspire you and support you. It is a collection of guidelines, methods and real-life examples to help you create clearer and user-friendlier contracts. Design patterns are model solutions to recurrent problems, not ready-made templates. You need to pick and mix them depending on your contextual needs and the communication problems you want to address - and implement them yourself to fit your situation. The first release of the Library includes 12 patterns, plus some general introductory and guidance materials. It is an ongoing project and we will release more patterns and resources in the future, based on user needs and feedback. In addition to the support materials in the Library, you can learn more about the Library and how to use it by checking out the recording of the launch webinar: https://www.iaccm.com/resources/?id=10555&src=ContractDesignIntro2019 Feel free to reach out for questions/support/feedback! Stefania


Graphics changes in negotiated templates

Have you tried using simplification techniques (text and visuals) in templates that may be changed during negotiation? I successfully launched a simplified confidentiality agreement with better layout and a timeline graphic, but found that logistically it is difficult to change graphics in a template if the terms change. I now want to apply the same techniques to a more complex template that will be negotiated more. Any thoughts out there?


Introductory Fee Agreement (UK & EU Law)

Hi, Can someone help and explain to me what an Introductory Fee Agreement is all about? What shoud I cover or look for in order to draft it properly? Any hints appreciated.


Applying Visual Enhancements to Contracting

I am thrilled to learn that there are organizations that are implementing this more user friendly and effective method of contracting. I have been seeing Statements of Work designed in this matter, however I have yet to see this implemented in the body of the underlying or master agreement. I am hopeful that this will become more of practice in the near future. To easily identify the key areas of an agreement is extremely important and I do believe that outcomes would be better and disputes minimized. I only wish my organization would adopt this more engaging approach toward contracting. It is always a struggle when the legal team is both judge and jury in contract content and design. It would be one thing if we were contracting solely with lawyers, but we are not. Vendors, clinicians and laymen should all be afforded every opportunity to thoroughly understand their obligations and protections and should not have to blindly sign on the line.


Brunswick Short Forms

Hello Everyone! I amt he Contracts Development Manager at the University of Hull. We are in the process of distributing some funding which we have to various projects internally. We have a HFCE annual recurrent grant for 2017-18. This has a GCRF element and we are making awards through this for fairly small amounts. The money is being used to purchase services such as hiring event venues, conduction of surveys, questionnaires, this sort of thing. They are all based in developing countries and we have been conducting due diligence exercises. The projects are also subject to a selection process. I feel that the Brunswick Short Form is ideal for use in these circumstances. Does anyone have an alternative view on this? This will be the first time that I have used the Brunswick Short Forms at my institutin and I am trying to anticpate any potential problems before they happen.


Building Effective Contract Management Capability for SMEs

On Wednesday, 7 March, Noel Green and I presented to the Swiss regional meeting in Zurich on the topic "Building Effective Contract Management Capability for SMEs". Our focus was on how SMEs can: - buy in expertise - build expertise - apply technology to improve their contract management performance. The slides from our presentation will soon be added to the IACCM library. While doing research for my part of our presentation, I should have asked in this forum how SMEs and startups that you represent address contract management within your organisations. I'd love to have you post your input here, or discuss with you face to face if you are in Switzerland or will be attending the EU Conference in Krakow.

Network Members