Contracts are agreements, or covenants involving two parties (Frederick 8), and the old contract adage still stands firm; never sign something before reading and understanding it fully; even if no one is it, please make sure you read and understand fully before signing anything. It is expected that the parties negotiate a contract’s terms, put the agreed-upon terms and conditions in writing, and sign (Frederick 13). If the deal does not reflect the terms and conditions as understood by any of the contracting parties, they have every right to amend it, with the consent of the other party. One should take time before signing any contract to make certain that every facet of contact relationship is sufficiently covered.
Should courts require that contracts and legal documents be written in a language that people can understand including disclosure of hidden contracts like drivers’ licenses and marriage licenses? It is always assumed that you have not only read but understood any contract agreement that you have signed. Claiming ‘I did not know what was in there’ will get you nowhere. Remember, in law ignorance is no defense. It is expected that a contract is written in a language well known by the contracting parties and reflect the terms as understood by the parties; otherwise if the contract does not, they have every right to change it, with the other party’s agreement.
A vital step in negotiating contracts of any kind is an understanding of contract law principles. Once these are understood, the contracting parties can approach contract negotiations and the resulting documentation with true awareness of their actions’ meaning and consequences.
One such contract law principle is that courts interpret contracts according to the plain meaning of the word on the page in everyday usage of language. First, you generally cannot introduce extrinsic evidence of what you intend to agree to- you agreed to the words on the page, whatever they may mean (Frederick 128). Second the court will avoid using strained or far reaching interpretations of a contracts’ language. If the contract plainly says that the other party can do something, do not expect to convince the court that they cannot.