Contracts Are Subtle

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.

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