You do not need to be a lawyer to review a contract, but you should be skilled enough to know when a lawyer is required.
Contract law looks easier than it is. How many have read a mortgage document or a life insurance policy? Do you think the lender or insurer has a 40 page document for your benefit or for theirs? Or a warranty? They protect the manufacturer far more than they protect you, although it may not appear that way in the advertising.
It is not that they are abusive, but they serve a particular purpose. Expecting more than they can deliver is a poor tactic on the consumer’s part. We will all be better if we have a rudimentary contract reading skill.
Mississauga lawyers Pallett Valo recently published a piece that will give you the basics of a contract. It is worth taking a look. A Primer of Reviewing Contracts.
There are things to know, just for the sake of knowing. Part 11 deals with Ticks and Traps. 11(e) (hidden security interest in a commercial lease) is one that comes up regularly.
This is not exactly a pageturner that will keep you up late, but as with most of life, knowing when you need help is a useful advantage.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.