For the avoidance of doubt (if any)

Legal contracts exist to record the terms of the commercial bargain made between the parties to that agreement.

The job of the draughtsperson should be to make any agreement clear and unambiguous, in other words there should be no doubt.

It is not uncommon however to see the words 'for the avoidance of doubt' used in contract documents.

When I see the phrase used, I immediately think that the draughtsperson has failed in their task.

It is somewhat rarer to see the phrase qualified by the words (if any), as I came across when advising a client last week. In seven words the agreement claimed to be trying to avoid doubt whilst also doubting that there was any doubt!

My clear and unambiguous advice to draughtspersons everywhere is this.....

If in doubt, even if you doubt that you are in doubt, avoid the avoidance of doubt.