Skip to main content

Layered Contracts: Both Legally Functional and Human-Friendly

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Liquid Legal – Humanization and the Law

Part of the book series: Law for Professionals ((LP))

  • 333 Accesses

Abstract

This paper addresses a debate that frequently arises when contract simplification is discussed. For business users, a clear contract is one that helps them understand the deal, implement its terms and encourages a productive business relationship. Legal teams, on the other hand, often worry about their responsibility to protect their client against excessive risk and potential litigation. For them, a clear document is unambiguous and legally watertight, resulting in complex documents that can be hard for non-lawyers to use. In this paper we discuss a layered approach that can reconcile competing definitions of clarity, functionality and user needs, and we speculate about the role of information design and emerging technologies in the development of human-centred layers to traditional contract wording.

Robert Waller is President of the International Institute for Information Design.

Stefania Passera is CEO and Contract Designer at Passera Design, and Contract Designer in Residence at World Commerce & Contracting.

Helena Haapio is Associate Professor of Business Law at the University of Vaasa, Finland, an Adjunct Professor of Proactive Law and Contract Design at the University of Lapland and a Contract Strategist at Lexpert Ltd.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

eBook
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Notes

  1. 1.

    Unlike the previous version of the Terms (effective date March 7, 2016), the new Terms begin with “Thanks for using Medium. Our mission is to deepen people’s understanding of the world and spread ideas that matter.”

  2. 2.

    See bolded section under the heading Disclaimers—Service is “As Is”.

  3. 3.

    For US law, see, e.g., American Bar Association, Business Law Section, Warranties and Online Sales https://www.americanbar.org/groups/business_law/safeselling/warranties/.

  4. 4.

    See e.g. Kwakkel (2018a, b) for examples.

  5. 5.

    The text on the top of this layer makes it clear that this is not the full license, by stating: “This is a human-readable summary of (and not a substitute for) the license.” Clicking on the word “Disclaimer” reveals more: “This deed highlights only some of the key features and terms of the actual license. It is not a license and has no legal value. You should carefully review all of the terms and conditions of the actual license before using the licensed material.”

  6. 6.

    What is and is not part of the contract and what role each layer should play in contract interpretation in our examples is beyond the scope of this brief chapter. For making the interpretation of images in contracts more predictable, see Haapio et al. (2020). See also Annola et al. (2022).

  7. 7.

    https://translate.google.com/; https://www.deepl.com/translator.

  8. 8.

    https://www.deepl.com/en/blog/announcing-glossary-support-for-deepl-api.

  9. 9.

    https://openai.com/blog/dall-e/.

  10. 10.

    Apart from GPT-3, there are many other promising language models. See, e.g., 10 Leading Language Models For NLP In 2021, https://www.topbots.com/leading-nlp-language-models-2020/.

  11. 11.

    For OpenAI Codex, an AI system that translates natural language to code, see https://openai.com/blog/openai-codex/.

  12. 12.

    See e.g. the OneNDA initiative, https://onenda.org/.

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Waller, R., Passera, S., Haapio, H. (2022). Layered Contracts: Both Legally Functional and Human-Friendly. In: Jacob, K., Schindler, D., Strathausen, R., Waltl, B. (eds) Liquid Legal – Humanization and the Law. Law for Professionals. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-14240-6_13

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-14240-6_13

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-14239-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-14240-6

  • eBook Packages: Law and CriminologyLaw and Criminology (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics